Delegation, done well, benefits both you and your employees. If you have a suitable task or responsibility to delegate and an appropriate person to entrust it to, consider these steps:
- Once you’ve determined what you’re going to delegate, take the time to plan how you will present the assignment, including your requirements, parameters, authority level, checkpoints and expectations. It is a good idea to write this down!
- Choose the right person. Assess the skills and the experience of your employees as objectively as possible. Don’t be too quick to choose the person who you know you can always depend on.
- Give an overview including the importance of the assignment and why you have chosen this employee. Share your written plan.
- Describe the new responsibility outlining sub-tasks, defining parameters, setting performance standards, identifying available resources, support, etc. Make sure the employee understands his/her level or degree of authority. Make sure that you notify those affected by the employee’s new power.
- Solicit questions, reactions, and suggestions. At this point you may want to ask the employee what approach he/she might take.
- Listen to the employee’s comments and respond empathetically. This step helps to get employee “buy-in” and will also help you determine if the employee does indeed understand what is expected. If the employee already feels overwhelmed, help establish priorities and relieve some of the pressure by putting other support in place for routine tasks.
- Ask the employee for commitment and offer help if needed.
- Encourage. Express confidence in the employee’s ability to successfully handle the new responsibility.
- Establish checkpoints, deadlines and ways to monitor progress. The entire discussion should be a collaborative process. You should strive for mutual agreement.
- Keep in contact with the employee and observe the checkpoints the two of you agreed to. Monitor and give feedback. However, don’t hover. Delegating means letting go!
- Recognize and reward the person for his/her successful completion of the assignment.
With practice, you will have happier, more engaged and more productive people through delegation.