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Do You Know How to Delegate Effectively?

Aug 21, 2007
For business owners, executive team members, managers, and supervisors there is no more important activity than delegation. As a manager, it is your job is to get work done through others.

Delegating work to others is a High Payoff Activity. Therefore, being able to effectively delegate is essential to productivity and the operation of your business. Oh by the way, wives, husbands, friends, associates, and colleagues can become involved in the delegation process too.

This is a skill for both work and life! Here are some ideas to aid you in your delegation.

Manage Your Own Delegation Attitude

Many supervisors I work with believe that their direct reports have too much work to do. So they are hesitant to delegate more. That is a mistake!

You should not judge what another person is capable of accomplishing. Share your plan to delegate work with your delegatee. Ask them to keep a prioritized list of work to be done.

Check with them every week to see what has been done, is not getting done, and is planned to be done the next week. If important tasks are not being accomplished, morph into your role as a productivity coach, delegate to others, or hire a new person to accomplish the uncompleted items.

Your biggest mistake would be to prevent your direct reports from handling additional tasks from which they can learn and grow. Your goal should be to train them up to replace you. That way you are freed-up for promotion.

Plan with Your Delagatee

Sit down with your delegatee and plan out the delegation together. That way questions may be answered, clear expectations established, and assumptions surfaced and explored. Without this, it is likely that communication of the delegated item will be unclear at best.

Make it Written

Writing crystallizes thought and crystallized thought motivates the correct actions and results. Identify and write with your delegatee answers to the following items:

- A very specific and detailed task description

- Benefits to you and to the delegatee

- Training required to enable task completion

- Method of tracking progress

- Progress reporting schedule

- Authority and responsibility assigned

- Trigger boundaries and how to get your re-involvement if or when necessary


Set a schedule for any training, progress reporting, and for reporting the final results or product associated with the delegated task. If it is a recurring task, establish a schedule of reporting the results that will build confidence with you along the continuum of:

- Wait until told
- Seek approval and then act
- Act and report immediately
- Act and report routinely

Many times delegation can lead to undesired results or quality of work that is unacceptable. I call this waste.

Delegate right the first time by thoroughly planning and communicating the delegated item. Then, enjoy the benefits that effective delegation can bring to you and your delegatee.
About the Author
Joe Farcht is the founder and president of Leadership Advantage, Inc. His purpose for living is to develop and coach leaders, executives, managers, and supervisors to new levels of performance and success in their work and life. He is the author of the book Building Personal Leadership: Inspirational Tools & Techniques for Work & Life. Learn more at Leadership Advantage, Inc.. Please contact Joe at joefarcht@cox.net or at 602 996-1802.
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