Written by Matt Moore, sprigsolutions.com
“I thought I asked you to do that?” That’s a question you don’t want to be asking, especially when you have to answer to your supervisor for why it’s not done. Delegation is an important skill for any manager. I’m going to give you five steps that will ensure the job gets done every time!
Let’s see what we can learn from a scenario that gets repeated far too often in many workplaces. Sam just got chewed out by his boss for not having some very important quarterly reports done on time.
Sam is a supervisor in a busy office. He’s currently juggling three projects and has a team of four employees reporting to him. There are stacks of files crowding his desk one with crumbs on it from the sandwich he wolfed down as he worked. “Hey, Sam!” He looks up over the piles to see Mary, his boss, standing in his doorway. He smiles at her as he thinks “Oh man, what now!”
“I’m just checking on the status of those quarterly reports? I need them by the end of the week.”
“You’ll have them! I’ll get them done.”
As Mary walks off, Sam starts putting together a plan. He gathers the files for the quarterly reports and starts towards Sue’s cubicle.
Sue is on Sam’s team. She’s a hard worker but has a pretty full workload of her own.
“Hey, Sue. I know you’re busy, but I need you to take these files and finish the quarterly reports for me. I’ve got to have them by the end of the week.”
Sam hands the files to Sue and returns to his office. “Whew! I’m glad she’s taking care of that. I have enough other stuff to worry about.”
Delegation has to be about both of you
Does this scenario sound familiar? What happened? Why was Sam left holding the bag?
Sam dumped the work he didn’t want to do on Sue and blindly trusted she would get it done. In the meantime, Sam did nothing to support Sue. Sue knew if this didn’t get done, it would come back on Sam, not her. She had no motivation to get the task done.
Delegation is an important skill for any manager. It is the assigning of responsibilities or tasks to a subordinate be carried out. Delegation allows the manager to be more productive and focus on tasks that only he or she can do. It also allows the subordinate a chance to learn, grow, and prove their capabilities.
Sam missed the most important principle of delegation.
You get better results when you make sure delegation is about both of you.
Sam was focused only on himself and what he wanted. He failed to consider Sue. He just assumed she would get it done.
What could Sam have done differently? How can we make sure the job gets done when we delegate? There are 5 Steps you can take to make sure the job gets done. Download our Delegation Checklist to use while you’re reading through the steps.
The first step is you must engage. Engagement is when an employee feels such a strong connection with their company and their supervisor that they are willing to go above and beyond what they have to do. Certainly, engagement starts with connection. It requires taking the time to build a good rapport and understand them as a person, not just an employee. In addition, engagement requires adjusting communication and work styles to match both parties’ strengths and weakness. Most of all, it requires adding value to their lives. Consider this, an engaged employee will go above and beyond to complete their task.
Secondly, effective delegation is about both parties. Both need to know what the other needs and “What’s In It For Me?” Finding the WIIFM is much easier with good engagement. Make sure you articulate what you need as their manager. Let them know you understand their needs. Most importantly, ask them open-ended questions to clarify. You will not always be able to offer tangible extra incentives for the added work, but you can articulate how they and the team will benefit from the work getting done.
Third, clearly state the work requirements. That is to say, cover the following:
- “Who?” – Discuss what people they will need to involve and who they can turn to for resources and support.
- “What?” – Discuss exactly the resources they will need to get the job done.
- “Where?” – Discuss where they will be working and make sure the conditions are suitable.
- “When?” – Agree on specific dates and milestones
Fourth, discuss how and when you will be communicating with them during the project. Talk to them about how you want the work done and how much freedom they have to do it their way.
Finally, make sure they are clear what they need to do and turn in for the job to be considered successful.
In conclusion, by following these simple five steps, you will be setting your delegate up for success and ensuring you get the job done.
Matt Moore owns Sprig Solutions. He helps leaders solve their biggest pains, dysfunctions and key challenges and reach their goals through leadership coaching and training. If you like this Blog you’ll love Sprig’s Newsletters, Tips, and other Resources! Sign up now and you’ll receive a free copy of Matt’s newest eBook “Leadership for a Difference…Starts With You!”