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What are effective, timesaving ways to delegate work to my direct reports?

Delegating work and then monitoring its progress can consume a good deal of management time and effort—without guaranteeing success. Supervisory challenges like these can be managed successfully with effective task analysis, and strategic use of direct reports’ motivation and competency.

Assigning work often fails where delegating work succeeds. Here’s why.

The way a supervisor makes an assignment to a direct report determines whether or not, and how well, tasks are successfully completed. Too often, assigned work is like a hand-off in football. The hope is the runner will advance unimpeded and score. Effectively delegated work replaces hope with planning. Results are defined upfront. The supervisor clarifies the task’s “who, what why, when and how,” as well as expectations and accountabilities along the way. The direct report advances then, with her supervisor’s direction and support, not as a solitary runner but as a partner.

Has delegating left you feeling you’d rather do the work yourself to make sure it’s done right? Three valuable benefits may change your mind.

Many supervisors hesitate to delegate work. They say, “My people aren’t ready,” “We can’t afford any mistakes,” or, “By the time I get through delegating, I could have done it myself.”

Supervisors “in the know” understand that delegating properly can help them get their own jobs done more efficiently. Time saved through delegation allows supervisors time to coach and train others, as well as oversee and support ongoing work.

Delegation provides opportunities for direct reports’ professional development, to learn and develop skills. As recipients of delegation, direct reports feel valued as participants, an important boost to their morale and motivation.

Some recommended “how to” steps to get more out of your delegating.

In preparing to delegate work, think through a number of factors: the complexity of the task and what must get accomplished for success to be realized; the best person for delegating the task to based on their experience, competency, and motivation; and the degree of delegation you are willing to grant—limited, partial, or full. Finally, determine the standard of performance you expect. Review progress regularly and keep a record. Respond to problems in a timely, proactive manner. Celebrate success often.

To inquire about more “how to” steps to boost your return on delegation, contact us now.