Delegation (Part 2)

Hold everyone to whom you delegate responsibilities to the same deadlines you have. If necessary, have staff provide progress reports. Email updates are a quick and easy way to do this. You might also place a reminder on your calendar to assure the tasks remains on schedule in the early delegation stages. Don’t hesitate to intervene if, at any point, you see that the task will not get done on schedule. You don’t want to miss a deadline with your boss because a staff member missed their deadline with you. That is a lose-lose situation you don’t want to have happen.

It’s alright to have staff members ask questions to clarify issues. However, don’t let them ask for so much advice that you really end up doing the work yourself. Some staff members will do this to you if you are not careful. Make it clear that you are available to help but that completion of the task is now their responsibility. Make it clear that along with the responsibility goes accountability.

A follow-up to the previous point is to also provide the level of authority that goes with the assignment. Do they have the right to do the task without any input from you? Do they make the decision and keep you informed of what they did? Is approval from you necessary before a final decision is made? Do you simply want them to make a recommendation and you make the decision? These are the four levels of delegation and staff must know up front how much freedom you are comfortable giving. Always remember that the more freedom you can give, the more freedom you will have.

When performance is done properly, be sure to provide proper recognition. Everyone enjoys a little praise. When you’ve given away a task, let the person who does it well for you know how much you appreciate their efforts. A sincere thank you goes a long way.

What’s in it for you if you do start delegating more? Some benefits include improvement in staff morale, confidence, independence and professional growth. The workload is now more evenly distributed and you’ve started to utilize more of the talent pool you have at your disposal. You are also now free to concentrate on more important tasks.

Mother Teresa once said, “To keep a lamp burning, you’ve got to put oil in it.” To paraphrase her: “To keep a company growing, you’ve got to put delegation into it.” The final questions you should consider are, how well is your lamp burning and how much are you delegating?

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