The Six Steps to Delegation, part 2

Last time, we discussed these steps to delegation: prepare, assign and confirm understanding. Do you find yourself making a conscious effort to conduct all three on a regular basis?

The following steps are just as critical in the delegation process.

4. Commitment
This is another area that most managers tend to skip in the delegation process. Managers assume an employee’s acceptance of the task. In a relay race, the most critical stage is handing the baton to the next runner. A huge amount of training is invested in learning the handoff. It’s no different in organizations. Commitment is making sure you’ve successfully handed over the baton.
Verify (or confirm) commitment on:
• the employee’s deliverable with time and budget
• the tools and resources you will provide
• the when, how and what of communications

5. Avoiding “Delegating Back”
Many of the managers who begin working with me are extremely overworked, and one of the first determinations is that their employees are better at delegating than the manager. We know this because delegated tasks return to the manger’s workload. I call this “delegating back.” There are very few, if any, cases when a manager taking back a delegated task is necessary. When an employee reaches an impasse, managers need to coach them through it, but let employees do their job. Don’t take tasks back.

6. Accountability
Communication in delegation is key. Finding out that a deliverable wasn’t completed or wasn’t done satisfactorily after the completion date is the nightmare scenario of delegating. Accountability is often a punitive term in organizations – “holding someone accountable.” Accountability is actually the act of giving a report on progress.
• Regular communication about the status of the deliverable and the timing of delivery.
If this is an important project or a group effort, it’s very effective to make the progress visible to everyone involved. Think about how effective the visual of a thermometer is for fundraising!
• Repercussions
What are the repercussions for:
• not completing the deliverable.
• running over budget
• being late

It can be difficult to overcome the myths of delegating and getting into the process of conducting all six steps when delegating tasks. By implementing this process, a manager creates a work environment that is more productive, fosters creativity and opportunities for growth and focuses on the importance of communication.

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