Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Delegating — Ten Ways To Make It Work

This post ties in with the first two, Delegating Dilemmas and Delegating–When and Why.

How supervisors can delegate effectively:

1. Be honest and positive, rather than over-selling what is essentially just a task that needs to be done. If you simply want to assign a task you have been doing–or could do–to someone else, assign it in an upbeat way and move on. Do not attempt to sell it as a great career opportunity unless it really is.

2. Keep a record of delegated tasks so you can reflect it on performance evaluations, in conversations, for follow-up and monitoring, and to ensure you do not overuse one or a few employees. Be as effusive in your praise as you honestly can be.

3. Maintain a relationship in your workplace that is so positive with most employees they are not likely to resent your delegation of tasks. When employees know of your commitment and work ethic they are more positive about taking on more work themselves–even work they know you were originally assigned to do.

4. Do not apologize for delegating or directing work. Some supervisors assign work as though they are afraid they are going to be kicked by the employee. Just do it–in a courteous, smiling way that assumes everyone is willing to work to their maximum.

5. Ensure the employee knows how to do the assigned work and has the resources and authority required.

6. Follow-up and monitor. If the delegated work is a one-time project that will take time over several days or weeks, both the supervisor and employee should schedule check-in times. If the work is being permanently delegated, a few follow-up times may be all that is needed, except for routine supervisory awareness.

7. Make work delegation a way for you to evaluate behavior and performance. When new work is assigned is often the main time we find out what the character and personality of an employee is really like. That is also the time to immediately communicate about it to the employee, positively or in a corrective manner.

8. Watch and listen for how an employee is reacting to delegated work. If he or she portrays someone who is overworked and harried, it may be true–or the employee may be over-dramatizing to get sympathy, impress others, or present you in a negative light. Do not let that continue. It may indicate that you need to reassign the work to someone else, or provide support or training. It certainly presents a bad image of your sensitivity to workloads, whether it is justified behavior or not. Find out the problem and work with the employee to correct it.

9. Make good use of your own time, so that clearing your desk of work does not just become freeing you up to sit and chat, read a newspaper for several hours every day, leave early to play golf, or play video games on the computer. (I have seen all of those things done by supervisors who bragged about knowing how to delegate.)

10. Remember that supervisors are ultimately responsible. It is rarely an accepted excuse that you thought an employee was doing the right thing. The old adage is true that you delegate the authority to complete a task, but you do cannot delegate supervisory responsibility for it.

There are three issues that apply to every aspect of work–especially to delegation: Expectations, communications and overall work relationships. Keep those positive and delegating work becomes easy.

April 17th, 2008 Posted by | Supervision and Management | no comments

No Comments »

No comments yet.

Leave a comment