Thursday, November 5, 2009

Lessons University Never Taught Me - No. 2

Delegation works for some people and not others. Learning how to let go and let others take over can be a tough ask.

I have found the problem wasn't the letting go - it was the follow through and ensuring the job was done properly. Different staff members complete tasks in a variety of ways. The progress some staff make on a task is very visible and easy to see. Other staff members complete the tasks just as well but not as visibly.

So who does a better job? Generally the results are pretty much the same.

What needs to change is the managers approach to how the task is being done. The manager needs to create a communication strategy/channel with the person the task has been delegated to.

What channels work? Try these examples -
  • Verbal feedback and updates. Just ask. Ideally you would go and see the person but a telephone call can suffice as well.

  • Tracking. Outlook Express and other computer programs have task tabs and job lists for tracking projects. These work better where distance exists or where a project is so large it needs a lot of people working on it.

  • Visual aids. I posted on using Lego as a visual aid for time tracking in August 2009. A similar thing could be done for delegated tasks.

  • Project posters (example - robot). Each team member is assigned a task and as more and more of the task is completed - the staff member adds more bits to the picture. This will give a visual presentation and a way for the team members to keep each other on track.

Delegation requires trust and communication to work properly.

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