“If you put fences around people, you get sheep.” William McKnight, former CEO, 3M
Lately, I've been trying to delegate more. Delegating does many wonderful things. First, it allow the one delegating to focus on more things, and in many case more important things. Second, it allows the one being delegated too to take on more responsibility and grow. Third, it give the one delegating a true glimpse into the one delegated too ability to take ownership, become resourceful, etc. Fourth, as a whole the team gets more work done.
There are a few essential to proper delegation . Use the following principles to delegate successfully:
1. Clearly articulate the desired outcome. Begin with the end in mind and specify the desired results.
2. Clearly identify constraints and boundaries. Where are the lines of authority, responsibility and accountability? Should the person:
- Wait to be told what to do?
- Ask what to do?
- Recommend what should be done, and then act?
- Act, and then report results immediately?
3. Initiate action, and then report periodically?
4. Where possible, include people in the delegation process. Empower them to decide what tasks are to be delegated to them and when.
5. Match the amount of responsibility with the amount of authority. Understand that you can delegate some responsibility, however you can't delegate away ultimate accountability. The buck stops with you!
6. Delegate to the lowest possible organizational level. The people who are closest to the work are best suited for the task, because they have the most intimate knowledge of the detail of everyday work. This also increases workplace efficiency, and helps to develop people.
7. Provide adequate support, and be available to answer questions. Ensure the project's success through ongoing communication and monitoring as well as provision of resources and credit.
8. Focus on results. Concern yourself with what is accomplished, rather than detailing how the work should be done: Your way is not necessarily the only or even the best way! Allow the person to control his or her own methods and processes. This facilitates success and trust.
9. Avoid "upward delegation." If there is a problem, don't allow the person to shift responsibility for the task back to you: ask for recommended solutions; and don't simply provide an answer.
10. Build motivation and commitment. Discuss how success will impact financial rewards, future opportunities, informal recognition, and other desirable consequences. Provide recognition where deserved.
11. Establish and maintain control.
12. Discuss timelines and deadlines.
13. Agree on a schedule of checkpoints at which you'll review project progress.
14. Make adjustments as necessary.
15. Take time to review all submitted work.
In thoroughly considering these key points prior to and during the delegation process you will find that you delegate more successfully.