Business owners… feeling the time crunch? Learn to achieve your objectives through others…
Read Time: 2 ½ Minutes Executive Brief #5, by Stephen Steckly
Many business owners struggle with delegation because they view it as simply “telling other people what to do”. Successful delegating is actually “achieving your desired result through the efforts of others”. If you hope to achieve your full potential as an entrepreneur - if you aspire to lead at levels 2, 3 and 4 (see Executive Brief #3, point 2), then you must master delegation.
You can do so by following this simple, seven-step process:
Step 1: Choose the ‘best available’ person (the Delegatee). Frequently, you will lack the ‘perfect’ person to do the job; but in spite of this, the Seven Steps will help you successfully delegate in the real world.
Step 2: Outline the results to be achieved; the importance of those results, and, depending on the skill set of the Delegatee, the actual tasks that will lead to the desired results. It’s also essential to establish the standard of excellence required. In order to make good decisions, your Delegatee must know what comprises success as they strive to achieve the results.
Step 3: Complete a resources check. There are four key resources that every Delegatee requires in order to fulfill your wishes:
Physical Resources: materials, tools, and equipment
Knowledge and Skill: It does you no good to tell an employee what to do if he or she doesn’t know how to do that or how to figure it out. This is where you’ll discover training and development opportunities.
Realistic Time Frames for Task Completion: Are there other tasks that will have to be delayed? If so, is this acceptable?
Support: If your Delegatee requires additional people to achieve your objectives, are those people available? Does your Delegatee have the authority to recruit/command those people? If the Delegatee runs into difficulty; who will provide clarification, advice, and training?
Step 4: Agree on timelines. Record exactly what will be achieved and by when – state a specific time and a specific date.
Step 5: Create a schedule of milestone reports. The reporting schedule will depend on the skill and position of the Delegatee. You delegate differently to a vice president than to a new front-line employee.
Some delegated tasks will be achieved over a period of days, weeks, or months. Both you and the Delegatee will record the times and dates of the required reports in your respective calendars.
Make it clear to the Delegatee that you expect him or her to track you down to deliver the report – you don’t want to be chasing people for their reports.
Step 6: Follow up immediately if a report is not delivered on time. If you always enforce on-time submission of reports, your Delegatees will learn to consistently complete their work on time and report as agreed.
Step 7: Review the completed work and provide recognition and praise, or training as required.
You will know that you have mastered the ‘effective delegation habit’ when you catch yourself running through the seven steps (at least mentally) whenever you delegate. Your next step is to teach this to your managers.
P.S. Some executives train themselves and their teams by using a delegation form. You can create one or, if you want to save some time, e-mail me for a free delegation form template.
Download a printable PDF of this executive summary here.