The 6-Step Formula for Mastering Delegation
A key to being an effective manager is knowing how to delegate. With time management being one of the biggest challenges that managers face, delegation allows for more tasks to be completed in less time. There is an art, however, to delegating properly, and few managers follow through with the delegation process.
To be an effective delegator, follow the six-step process outlined below to ensure that tasks will be completed to your satisfaction:
- Map out a game plan for the assignment. Before handing off an assignment, fully think through what you’re asking for. The last thing you want to do is have to change the expectations of the project after you’ve assigned it to an employee.
- Assign the task or project. Once you have a clear understanding of exactly what you’re looking for, you’re ready to assign the task or project to your employee. When assigning a project, be sure to define the deadline, budget, context and communication requirements.
- Confirm that the employee understands the assignment. No matter how thorough you are with your explanation, never assume that the employee understands the task at hand. It only takes about 60 seconds to confirm that the employee has a clear understanding of the actions that need to take place, and confirming an understanding will make the difference between success and failure. As a best practice, ask for the employee to paraphrase the assignment back to you.
- Ensure that employees are committed to the task. Delegating a project is much like handing off a baton in an important race. To successfully delegate a task, your employee needs to be just as committed to the assignment as you are. Make the employee aware of how their help with the assignment will benefit your organization (and how failure to complete the assignment will impact the business).
- Don’t let assignments fall back on your plate. The last thing that you want is to delegate a task and have it fall back on your plate (known as reverse delegating). If an employee is having a difficult time completing the task, coach them through it.
- Hold the employee accountable. Two-way conversations throughout the project is crucial for accountability. Keeping an open chain of communication will prevent surprises at the eleventh hour.
Delegation means thinking, planning and communicating – and the more effort you put into it at the onset of a project, the better the result. If you’re delegating effectively, you’ll not only have more time for your core responsibilities, you’ll empower your team as well.