Setting deadlines is the most painful and underappreciated part of delegating a task. Too many leaders give employees tasks without setting a deadline or asking what else they have on their “to do” list. This is a motivation killer. You must keep in mind that even though the task you are assigning is of great importance, your employees have their tasks too.
Do You Ever Say No?
Most people are trained to never say “no.” They have been wired to say “yes,” even when they know they already have too much on their plate. Often times, the delegator already knows this, but chooses to take the position of “not my problem.” In the long run, this can destroy trust and respect for the delegator and decrease employee morale, organizational productivity, and profitability.
How to Properly Delegate
When you delegate a task, you must sit with the person you are delegating to and make sure that realistic deadlines are being created. It is your job as the delegator to help your people be successful and not set them up for failure. If you are delegating to someone who has a history of over-committing, it is important to help reconcile commitments to make sure that the most important things get done first. Always make it clear that you are aware they have other tasks so want to make sure they are available to meet your deadline. Also always make sure the deadline is a realistic one. After all, when your employees succeed you succeed!
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Have you ever noticed that great leaders are also excellent delegators? Delegation saves time, develops and motivates people, and makes an organization more productive. Therefore, it is fair to say that this is one of the most critical skills for any leader or manager to acquire. For this reason, I encourage every leader to become a master delegator.
There are Seven Steps in the Delegation Process:
- Defining What to Delegate.
There are really three reasons to delegate work: to better control our use of time, to build our people, or to motivate our people. So the first question you will need to answer is: why are you delegating?
- Selecting the Individual or Team.
While I think we should always give our most important projects to our best players, we need to involve and delegate to the entire team at some point. With each person, consider why you are delegating (motivation, growth, or time management) a task, and match the appropriate tasks to that person’s capabilities.
- Assess Appropriate Level of Delegation.
Typically, leaders delegate using the same style for every person on their team and this is a mistake. The level of delegation should be adjusted based on the task and the person being delegated to.
- Communicate Tasks In Specific Terms.
This is where most delegation fails. If you want something done a specific way, tell them. If you are not clear about what you want, take the time to brainstorm with your colleague before they start working.
- State Measurable Results.
Explain how a task fits into the overall organizational picture, describe the measurable results you are looking for, and let them know how you will rate their performance.
- Agree on Deadlines.
The deadline is the most underappreciated part of delegation. Too many leaders give people tasks without asking what else they have on their “to do” list. This is a motivation killer. When you delegate a task, you must sit with the person you are delegating to and make sure that realistic deadlines are being created
- Follow-up and Feedback.
It is essential that you have a feedback system in place so that you know that things are on track. In the end, you should take the blame for failure and pass on the credit for success.
Delegation is one of the most important tasks as a leader. When done correctly, it develops your succession, increases your personal productivity, and motivates your people.
Howard Shore is a business growth expert who works with companies that want to maximize their growth potential by improving strategy, enhancing their knowledge, and improving motivation. To learn more about him or his firm please contact Howard Shore at 305.722.7213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.