Delegation is one of the most important management skills. Good delegation saves you time, develops your people, can be used to groom a successor, and it motivates your team. Poor delegation will cause you and your team frustration – it de-motivates and confuses the other person, and fails to achieve the task. So it’s a management skill you need and that is worth improving. Here are some simple steps to follow to get it right.

1 Define the task

Confirm in your own mind that the task is suitable to be delegated. Does it meet the criteria for delegating? Is the task

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Agreed
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound
  • Enjoyable ideally or at least ethical in that it is worth doing!
  • Recorded
2 Select the individual or team

What are your reasons for delegating to this person or team? What are they going to get out of it? What are you going to get out of it? Be clear about why you have chose this person!

3 Are they competent to do the task?

Is the other person or team of people already capable of doing the task?  If not, can their training need be met in time to compete the task?

4 Explain the reasons

You must explain why the job or responsibility is being delegated. And why to that person or people? What is its importance and relevance? Where does it fit in the overall scheme of things? You need to give as much information as you can!

5. Be clear about the desired result

What must be achieved?  Make sure they have understood by getting feedback from the other person. How will the task be measured? Make sure they know how you intend to decide that the job has been done.  Be clear about the standard and quality you expect and how this will be judged. What reports will you require as the task is being completed? What methods of checking will you use – be clear at the outset and agree them with the person doing the task.  This will avoid later frustrations.

6 Consider the resources required

Discuss and agree what is required to get the job done. Consider people, location, premises, equipment, money, materials, other related activities and services. Make sure they are available. Nothing is more de-motivating than being given a task without the resources necessary to complete it.

7 Agree deadlines

When must the job be finished? Or if it is an ongoing duty, when are the review dates? When are the reports due ? And if the task is complex and has parts or stages, what are the priorities?

8 Support and communicate

Think about who else needs to know what’s going on (stakeholders), and inform them. Involve the other person in considering this so they can see beyond the issue at hand. Do not leave the person to inform your own manager or your peers of their new responsibility. Warn the person about any awkward matters of office politics.

9 Feedback on results

It is essential to let the person know how they are doing, and whether they have achieved their aims. If not, you must review with them why things did not go to plan, and deal with the problems. You must absorb the consequences of failure, and pass on the credit for success.

10 Publicize success

Nothing will motivate your team more than hearing about a member’s success and knowing others in your organisation know what has been achieved.  Reward and reinforce success by publicizing it  – make opportunities to talk about it.

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