By Guest Blogger: Crystal Arcicovich, BBA '09, Walsh College Alumni Association Board Member
“I’ll just do it myself. That way I know it will get done exactly that way I want it!”
Sound familiar? Why delegate when it seems easier to just design that new menu yourself? You know the information inside and out. You eat, breathe, and sleep your job. The fact is your time can be better spent! In addition, other people on your team get the opportunity to grow to their full potential within the organization.
Delegation is a win-win. But how do you know what to delegate? Here are the steps I take to decide what and to whom to delegate.
To determine if delegation is appropriate, ask yourself the following five questions:
- Is this a task that someone else can do or is it imperative that you do it yourself?
- Does the task provide an opportunity to grow another person’s skills?
- Will this task reoccur in the future? Is this something that will be done on a regular basis?
- Most important, do you have enough time to effectively delegate the assignment?
- Finally, ask yourself: Is this assignment one that I feel comfortable delegating? With the right people on your team, you can be more at ease with this question.
Answering “YES” to three or more of the above questions makes delegation worthwhile.
There are additional factors that contribute to your decision, such as the time available to complete the task by the given deadline. If the task is not completed properly the first time, would there be time to redo it if necessary? Are there consequences if the project is not completed by the deadline? And is there a direct impact on other projects if the deadline is not met? These additional factors circle back to the person delegated to the assignment. So how do you decide who would be the right candidate to delegate a particular project?
When you consider delegating, it is important to select a candidate who possesses the knowledge, skills, and experience tied directly that particular project. You must make time for training critical for achieving the desired outcome. Make sure the person you select is independent, has the time to dedicate, and has the proper resources. Also, you will need to take into consideration that the person who takes over the project may take more time than you to complete tasks. You’re an expert, and they’re still learning. Have patience. You’ll find out that, if the person is qualified and you delegated correctly, he or she will quickly become competent and reliable.
You’ve appointed the person responsible to take over the assignment. Then you think to yourself: “How can I convey the information to that person so that the project is completed correctly by the deadline given.” It’s easy! By following the principles below, delegating successfully can become second nature.
- As Stephen Covey states, “Begin with the end in mind.” Specify the desired results and outcome you would like to see achieved.
- Identify the limitations, lines of authority, responsibility, and accountability. Should the person ask what do you? Or wait to be told? Act now, apologize later? Or recommend what should be done and then get approval to act?
- Understand that when delegating, accountability for the completed assignment still goes back to you. So match the amount of responsibility with the amount of authority.
- Provide adequate support. Be available to aid as needed with any questions or bumps in the road. Communication is key. Monitoring is a must.
- Do not micromanage (that’s a hard one, I know!). Focus on the results, less on the steps used to achieve the results. Your way is not necessarily the best or only way to get the job done.
- Avoid “upward delegation.” When problems and concerns arise, do not allow the person taking over to delegate the task back to you. Instead work together on the solution and get back on track. Don’t forget you are delegating this particular task because your time can be spent more effectively.
- As I said before, discuss the timeline of action steps and project deadline. Put together a schedule of checkpoints to review the progress of the project. Make adjustments as necessary.
- Augment motivation and commitment. Point out how success will impact financial rewards, create future opportunities with informal recognition, and additional desirable ramification.
Once you have worked through the above steps, make sure you explain to your team member why he or she was chosen to complete the project. Make expectations clear, the goals and deadline, as well as the resources that are available to them during the completion of the assignment. Be sure to embrace all the questions that may arise, and make sure that your team member feels 100% comfortable coming to you with even “stupid” questions. Let them know you are always available for guidance and help.
Finally, you get the finished product. The delegated work is delivered back to you with time to spare (woohoo!). Set time aside to review it thoroughly. Make sure you are 100% satisfied with it. If you accept work is that not up to your standard, you are setting your team member up for failure. Instead point out the unsatisfactory work with ways to improve. On the other side of the spectrum, when great work is returned to you, be sure to recognize and reward efforts made. Compliments truly go a long way. Improved self-confidence makes the team member more efficient in the long run. Performance then improves on the next delegated task. Win-win!
So there it is: Delegate effectively once the right member on the team has been chosen. Your time is better spent, and the growth within the organization is off the charts. Teamwork is enhanced and employee confidence grows. The overall organization grows, increasing rewards and opportunities.
And all it took was simply delegating a project.