Delegation Is An Art Best Learnt Early
Delegation is an art that very often feels like abstract art! Many of us don’t understand it’s nuances. We know we cannot do everything by ourselves, but it just feels so much easier to take the tougher route sometimes. Not many of us are comfortable with the idea of delegation. Let’s face it- most of us despise the idea.
The fear around delegation is essentially the fear of the consequences of bad hiring practices. If you are worried about delegating tasks to people you pay, it means you don’t trust them enough. A lack of trust often stems from a lack of faith in their abilities. Abilities are attributes that should be judged in an interview. Hence, we have a failed process. Beyond this, some leaders are innately averse to delegating. There is an underlying feeling that no one can do a job as well as us, and it is easier, faster and more efficient to finish the job ourselves.
Great thinking, until the time comes when we simply cannot handle everything by ourselves. Learning the art of delegation is about learning to trust. Well, perhaps you may not be able to trust people right away, but surely you can find a way to trust your instincts about them? Once this internal hurdle is crossed, you will find that placing tasks in the right hands frees up time and gives you the resources you need to focus on the business itself.
Delegation In Eight Steps
Here’s an eight-step plan to get delegation right every single time.
The Need: When you choose to delegate, the first step is knowing that the other person needs all the information you currently have in order to perform a task to the standards you expect. It is helpful to write out the task, available resources and expected outcome beforehand to set the right expectations.
The Person: Now that you have clarity on what you want, you can pick the right person (not you again!) for the job. Someone with a proven record of doing a similar job well is ideally the best pick.
The Plan: Depending on how long the task is expected to take, you need to plan for either a simple conversation or a complete handover including a demonstration.
The Meeting: If it is a short-term task, a simple email will do. If you expect the responsibility to take a few months, with measurable results, it is best to discuss with the person.
The Action Items: In the meeting, discuss how you will measure progress. Set timelines. Make an action plan. You can check in periodically to see how the task is progressing.
The Review: At some point, you may feel like the original course needs correction. A review that includes inputs from the other team member is helpful in making the process efficient.
The Implementation: This is the stage at which you will have implemented the action items and will begin to see some results, expected or otherwise. At this stage, you may wish to stop handholding the person you have delegated the task to.
The Follow-Up: No proper process is ever complete without a re-assessment. In the follow-up, you discuss the task’s progress and results as well as any concerns the team member may have.
Try this the next time you are looking for a helping hand. Want to become a delegation superstar? Here’s some suggested reading. Go to our Bookshelf for more.