The Art of Delegation

Delegation is not a simple matter of giving away tasks. It requires some consideration and planning for 2 key reasons.

Firstly, delegating the task doesn’t not mean that you are free of responsibility for it being carried out, only that the output is provided by someone else.

Secondly, the quality of that output will still reflect upon you, even if someone else completes it!

So here are some ideas on the Art of Delegation:

Select the correct person to do the task.
That is, find someone with the correct knowledge, skill, attitude and capacity to do the task. There is no point in giving a software task to the mail delivery person.

Ensure that person understands the task and the timescales/deadlines involved. Ask questions to clarify their understanding and ensure the person understands what you believe a ‘good job’ looks like.

Ensure the person is given the resources to complete the task and that other managers understand the person has an increased workload, reducing their capacity to accept other work.

Maintain communication at a frequent by not intrusive frequency. This often requires some sensitivity and trust. You want the person to give you feedback on progress, but don’t want to be seen as a micro manager.

Stand back and let the person go, providing guidance and support if required.

Monitor the progress and review the performance. Trust but verify is not a poor motto in the early stages of delegating. As you both increase in confidence, the verify can be reduced as the trust increases!

My own delegation process follows the following pattern:

– A brief overview of the task
– A clear description of the outcome
– A breakdown of the resources available
– A statement on when the work needs to be completed for my review
– A short period of questions from both of us to clarify the outcomes, resources and any concerns
– A discussion of when to review progress

These tips and my process should give you a useful starting point for developing you own delegation.

Dare to Aspire

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