Managers have a lot of their plate, and the most effective leaders understand that they need to count on their team to maximize productivity. While handing off assignments will allow you to accomplish more in less time, not all managers practice the right approach to delegation.
There is an art to delegation, and mastering this art involves following this six-step process:
1. Map out your expectations.
Before you can assign a project to someone, it’s important to take the time to define your expectations. Fully thinking through what you’re asking for will help to ensure quality results.
2. Hand off the assignment.
Once you have a clear understanding of the assignment that you’re delegating and your expectations for the outcome, you’re ready to hand it off. Be sure to provide clear information surrounding the deadline, budget, context, and desired communication schedule.
3. Confirm that the employee understands the assignment.
This is a crucial step that is often overlooked in the delegation process. After you explain the assignment to the employee, ask that the employee recite their responsibilities back to you. This should take no more than a minute and will make the world of a difference in determine the success (or lack thereof) of the outcome.
4. Ensure that your employee is committed to the assignment.
Your employee needs to be committed to the assignment and overall objective if he or she is going to do a satisfactory job. Let the employee know their contribution is going to impact the team and organization. Remind them that they are a critical part of the team and the project could not be completed without them.
5. Don’t let assignments fall back on your plate.
When the going gets tough, some employees will want to push their responsibilities back to you (known as reverse delegating). Instead of adding to your plate, treat these as learning opportunities and coach your employees through their challenges.
6. Hold your employees accountable.
The key to accountability is maintaining a two-way conversation throughout the assignment. As a manager, you’ll want to be kept in the loop to ensure that the assignment will be completed in time and in a satisfactory manner.
By walking through these six steps every time you delegate a project, you’ll be able to increase your team’s level of productivity and position yourself as a leader within your organization.
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