Delegation – A competency all managers of professionals need to master

Many of the highly trained professionals who get promoted into managerial roles are often challenged with giving up the work they did as an individual contributor. As a result, they fail to fully delegate work and decisions which would maximize the productivity and foster skill development on their team.

As a company that excels at delegation training, here is an overview of The Performex Delegation Process:

1. Plan – Work diligently to define the “what” and the “why” for the assignment. The “what” includes the expected results. The “why” is the business reason behind the request and its importance. From this information, create open-ended questions you’ll use later to verify the employee’s understanding of the assignment. The second planning step is determining who will do the work and make the decisions. Factors include the urgency, the importance, who currently has the needed skill set, maturity, the development needs of the employee, and finally, workload.

2. Communicate and assign – Once you have chosen the employee(s) to delegate to, communicate the “what” and “why” to your employee(s). Clarify the expected results, budget, timing, and impacted parties. Agree to a communication protocol for content, frequency, updates, and most importantly how and when to inform you of deviations to the plan or when a deliverable is in jeopardy.

3. Confirm understanding and commitment – Use the questions you developed in the planning stage to spur your employees to cover the parameters of the assignment in their own words. Then confirm the employee(s) is/are committed to the expected results. Most importantly, ask open-ended questions to have them articulate the ramifications or consequences (for the team, company, themselves, or others) that may result if they fail to deliver or exceed the desired outcomes.

4. Review results and provide support – The amount of follow up and monitoring you need to do is based on the importance of the request, the skill, and forthrightness of the employee. Delegation isn’t abdication, so you must periodically check in on an individual’s performance. The best way to do this is to follow the agreed-upon procedures you established in the “communicate and assign” step.

5. Close out the request/assignment – Too often projects and tasks don’t get a formal close or handoff. Conduct a Plus (+) / Delta (∆) discussion to examine what went well and what can be changed in the future to achieve better results. Add the reviewing prior Plus (+) / Delta (∆) comments to the employee’s next project plan.

Watch outs –things that prevent delegation

1. What’s holding you back? – In our 40 plus years of experience in working with people with delegation challenges, we have discovered that most managers do not solve their delegation problems by implementing an improved process. Usually, there’s an underlying fear, belief, or trait that they must overcome first before they can improve. Procrastinators wait too late to delegate. Managers that detail how to do the assignment, often give up because to them delegation is time-consuming and difficult. Other managers see minor differences between their work and the work done by their staff as more substantial than they are. Other managers are afraid of overloading their team. Some managers enjoy doing the work themselves. Find out what’s really behind your failure to delegate and fix it.

2. Spending to much time instructing how to do the assignment – We refer this as failure to delegate the “how.” Many managers feel they must give complete and comprehensive instructions to their reports when they assign them to work. In the future, allow them to outline their approach, and then you critique it. This method makes delegating easier for the manager and has the side benefit of fostering valuable learning from employees.

3. Failure to discuss consequences and ramification for both success and failure – Many managers are uncomfortable with this discussion. Ramifications for both success and failure always exist. Therefore, it’s a critical conversation and need not be done in a threatening manner. Use questions to help the employee discover the consequences themselves, and you’ll see a more committed and accountable employee.

4. Contact the team of Performex– As the undisputed expert at helping people overcome delegation challenges, we have a lot more information about approaches that work than what can fit into this article. To learn more about our solutions click this link:www.performex.com.

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