Delegation is a very effective means of time management.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t do it enough. There are compelling benefits when you successfully delegate. The benefits of delegation include:
- It will save you an amazing amount of time.
- It is one of the highest forms of motivation known because it encourages participation.
- It develops your staff into a more productive group.
- It encourages trust and cooperation on your team.
- It increases the level of teamwork for your direct reports.
- It improves your skills (at training, coaching, and mentoring).
Before you begin, make a list of all the tasks for which you’re currently responsible. Then decide which tasks or projects will benefit the company or division (tasks that mean something), will improve your abilities or performance, or will benefit a subordinate’s knowledge and confidence. Now select one.
Choose the right person for the job: Make sure that the person you select has the proper training, experience, and/or knowledge for the job. Tell why you’ve chosen him or her and why you’ve assigned this particular task.
Define the task, your desired results, and your expectations: Provide guidelines and examples of what’s expected, as appropriate. Be sure the designee understands your desired outcome before beginning. There are no silly questions at the beginning.
Set a start time and a deadline: Allow sufficient time for him or her to complete the task or project. Schedule a meeting midway between the start and end time to discuss progress or other issues, but don’t hover or keep checking with the person every five minutes. Give him or her some room to learn.
Make sure the designee has the proper training: The number one reason why delegation often fails is that the person delegating does not have time to train the designee. Make the time to train! If you take the time, you’ll only have to train once and the task will be done right the first time.
I typically like to pick the afternoon to train because it’s less hectic, I’ve finished what I wanted to that day, and it’s easier to avoid interruptions.
TIP: If it’s a report, explain how it should be done (even if you could have done it in the same amount of time yourself), and let the person keep a copy of it.
Give them the necessary authority: Make sure your designee has the necessary authority to gain access to certain files or to get cooperation from others. Send an e-mail message in advance on behalf of your designee to those whose cooperation will be needed so things will run more smoothly.
Give praise or feedback at the end: At the conclusion of the job, discuss the results with the person. Praise him or her for the results, discuss any issues, and offer constructive feedback.
Track the tasks: Use your calendar or your Master List to keep track of the tasks you’re delegating. Remember, you are the one ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the task or project.
“There is a great man who makes every man feel small. But the really great man makes every man feel great.”