Effective Delegation - Part 2 of 2

There are a number of things that should be considered before the actual delegation takes place:

1. How much does the individual know and need to know about the project to be delegated and it’s background? If it’s early enough, can they be involved in its planning?

2. Do you care how they do the job? Or just that the job gets done? e.g.:  if you’ve had an idea for an app to be created, do you care what language it’s written in or just that it does the job.  If how it’s done isn’t so important then don’t be a control freak by telling someone step by step how they should do it unless they need and ask for that level of guidance.  Let them use their judgment, experience, skill and brain!

3. If the how it’s done is important, create a step-by-step system that they can follow to ensure they don’t miss anything. If one doesn’t exist and this is going to be a regular occurrence ask them to systemise the process as they work on it.

4. How much support will you give them along the way? Are you able to? if not, where can they go for support?

5. What’s the outcome? Describe what the project you’re delegating will look like when it’s done. How do you see it, how will others describe it? How will it make your customers feel for example?

6. Why is it important? What’s the bigger picture? It may be obvious to you but sometimes when we delegate a piece of work its importance in the grander scheme of things isn’t appreciated and so heart and soul aren’t put in to it.  If it’s not important enough to explain, why is it being done in the first place?  (I’ve personally binned off many actions just by going through this process)

7. What are the standards? Depending on the nature of the project there may be standards that need to be considered. E.g: Aesthetics, Customer feedback etc.

8. When does it need to be done by, is that realistic and achievable? What happens if it isn’t done by then? What are the consequences to the business?

9. Consider at least a couple of milestones where an update is given on its progress. The first one should be very soon so that you can gauge understanding of the project. It’s better to check in early than find that the wrong thing has been worked on for a considerable amount of time.

10. Write all of this down

Finally, delegate the project/task:

1. Find a distraction free place to speak to the person you’re going to delegate the job to.

2. Explain that you have an important job you’d like them to do for you. Talk through the job, why it’s important and why you’re asking them to do it. (Is it because they’re attentive to detail? Incredibly self-driven? Great at motivating people? They’re creative? Methodical?  What is it about them that gives you comfort in them completing the project.)

3. Explain what the project is and if it’s applicable to explain the process and whether you want them to create systems around it.

4. Discuss the deadline and the milestones (and what you expect to see at each milestone), ask if they’re comfortable with the dates.

5. Understand what their other priorities are and then agree with them where your project fits within those other priorities. Is it at the top or should they drop yours to deal with something else if it comes up.

6. Ask them to talk you through in their own words what the project is, why it’s important and what the outcomes are. Ensure this isn’t fed back parrot fashion but that it’s clear they understand. Ask questions.

7. Put the milestone and deadline dates in your computer diaries so that it pops up on both screens at the right time. Make sure you attend the update meeting otherwise the project will be undervalued.

8. Give them a copy of the document you’ve filled in. Do this at the end so that they’re not simply reading from it instead of listening to you and also that they don’t read the content back when you seek to ensure understanding.

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