I hear people complain because someone didn’t do they were asked to do. I doesn’t matter who you give work to, your kids, spouse, coworker, subordinate, boss, neighbor, committee member, friend, etc. you will be disappointed if you don’t recognize it for what it is. Delegation.
For delegation to be effective, there are four components that must be present.
- Clearly communicate your expectations or the desired result.
When I delegate to my kids, I tell them I need all the clothes folded that are in the basket and what also is in the dryer.
When I delegate to a coworker, I tell them I need data for all of 2010 and 2011.
- Confirm that what you are delegating is realistic and achievable.
I will confirm with my kids if they have all their homework done.
I will confirm with my coworker if they have access to the data I am asking for.
- Determined an agreed upon deadline. My deadline is not always when the person can do it, so it is important to ask.
I will ask my kids if the laundry can be folded before 5:00. To be honest, sometimes it is a “tell” rather than an “ask” but sometimes there is something I am not aware of prevents them from reaching my deadline like getting ready for swim practice.
I will ask my coworker if I can get the data by Friday.
- Agree how you will be notified when what you delegated is done.
I will ask my kids to let me know when they are done. If I haven’t been notified by 5:00, I have a good reason to check to find out why. Sometimes there is a good reason but sometimes not.
I will ask my coworker to send me the results to my email. If don’t get the data by Friday, they shouldn’t be surprised when I ask about it Friday afternoon. For larger projects, I will ask for updates at mid-point throughout the project.
When people are apprehensive about delegation, they probably didn’t delegate effectively. Include these steps when delegating and in time work that you assign will get done.
What have you delegated but missed one of the steps?
What is one of your delegation horror stories?