Last week, I talked a little bit about Delegation styles and how they related to trust. This week I want to talk about how to delegate a task and it is all about Clarity.
That starts with clarity around the actual task. Many times people will have something in their head that is perfectly clear but may not realize that the other person has a different view of the basic description. What is important here is that there is 2 directional communication. Once the task is described, questions to be sure that the delegatee is clear on what is desired. In some tasks, there will be decision points that are clear. How the person should proceed based on decision points needs to be part of the conversation. Many people want to only talk through success paths, but failure paths and how to deal with contingencies is part of the delegation process.
The next step is to establish metrics around the task. This would include a timeline as well as any tangible milestones or benchmarks that are needed. Early on in a delegation relationship, early measurables are important. Anything that can be done to show definitive progress really helps things along. Tasks that go a long time without a tangible deliverable tend to wander and have problems meeting deadlines. That is why having clear timelines and metrics are so important. It gives everyone a temperature guage to know where the project is and how it is doing. How often these metrics will be reported on has to do with style. The more trust that has been built the metrics can be measured less often. But please note that employees care the most about the things that you care about. The best way to demonstrate care is to measure those things that you care about and report on them regularly. This will show those who work for you that you are engaged in the most important things in your business.
Finally, there is the follow-up at the end. It is important that the outcome be acknowledged and dealt with. This is true for either a negative or positive outcome. Any consequences for either a greatly positive or negative outcome should have been worked out ahead of time and would be applied at this point. One thing that is often left off is what I call a postpartum analysis. This is where the person talks about what went right, what went wrong and any learnings that can be gleaned from this project. This is a great way of creating a learning organization that gets better over time.
Have a great day!
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