In my previous post I started talking about effective delegation. I described the first three aspects: politeness, present a reason, and describe the goal among the six point that, in my opinion, are key to successfully delegate tasks to our employees.
Let’s talk about the next three: setting deadlines, giving support and recognizing a good job.
4) Set a Deadline Range:
I have seen many tasks assigned without mentioning exactly when the job should be completed. That is a big mistake for two main reasons. Firstly, we may not get the results on time. When we request a job and fail to provide a proper deadline, the elected worker will rush the task when we eventually ask for it. The uninformed worker’s job will then result in costly mistakes and poor quality. Secondly, we do not give the employee enough notice to organize his time. Employees have several tasks and responsibilities; thus, they need to know how much time they have to finish the job in order to set priorities and establish their schedule. As I mentioned before, I think failing to set a time frame for a deadline is one of the most common mistakes when employers delegate tasks. The second mistake is giving the worker an expedited deadline, meaning we set a deadline ahead of schedule. Most deadlines are formulated based on the amount of work present and time needed for each job. Let us pretend it is Monday, and we have a job due Friday. Scheduling the deadline for a worker on Wednesday to give extra days to make corrections in case something goes wrong can actually create more problems. The actual amount of time/days needed for the job is cut short and can cause irreversible mistakes due to the employee rushing.
It is acceptable to leave margin for corrections but, if the expectations and objectives are communicated effectively, there is no need for excessive margins, and the person that actually does the job can have more time to do it right. For large projects or jobs, it is pertinent to set intermediate checks to see if the worker is going in the right direction. That presents us the opportunity to correct possible mistakes before the job is nearly finished when corrections usually take more time and are harder to perform. Finally, another useful tip is to ask if there are any problems related to workload to complete a job. In doing so, conflicts with other deadlines and tasks are avoided and workers can set their priorities. For example, if the person says he needs to finish another urgent task first, we can rearrange the due dates to give priority to the new task (or the old one). If the other task was not assigned by you, be sure to communicate with the person that requested it. Even if that person is also one of your employees, you should call him to let him know that you need this job first and then rearrange the deadlines. NEVER damage, or belittle, the authority of the other person regardless of whether he is a superior, peer, or subordinate.
5) Resources and support:
It is important to check if a worker has the necessary resources to do the job, or at least knows that he can procure them on his own. On the other hand, samples, templates, or sketches can be useful to transmit a clear idea about what we need and also to facilitate their work. For junior employees, you can provide extra support by giving tips about where to find information, who can offer assistance with some part of the job, and who can offer a detailed explanation about the job. You can even assign a senior employee to act as a coach. When an employee lacks experience and time management skills, it is useful to remind him about the deadline a few days in advance. Most importantly, leave enough room for him to try on his own, make mistakes, and implement his own ideas as a learning process.
6) Recognize a good job:
If possible, put the name of the employee who performed the job in the final literature. A good leader always shares the merits and recognizes the hard work of others. You can also mention the author during a meeting. For me, including the worker’s name in the results is the best way to acknowledge a great job. Lastly, do not forget to be verbally thankful to the worker. It is a matter of respect and courtesy to personally recognize and appreciate him despite that it is his job and also his responsibility.
My final advice is:
Do not do it yourself. Sometimes, employers/managers struggle to delegate an appropriate job by not committing to the 6 aspects mentioned above. Failing to properly delegate a task leaves the manager responsible for carrying out the job on his own, which will increase his workload with tasks that should be done by his employees. The better we communicate our expectations for a task, the higher the chance we have to receive timely and accurate results. One way to avoid this is to carefully select the people who will do the job. If there is a tight deadline, we need a fast and renowned senior employee. On the other hand, when we have tasks with longer deadlines, we need to take the opportunity to train our junior employees. Intermediate meetings and evaluations should be scheduled to check their work, and perhaps hire the senior employee as a coach and guide in this ‘training’ process. In doing so, we make our team stronger and add value to the company and also to our employees.
What are your experiences in this matter? What other things do you consider when you delegate tasks? Did you have a boss that performs and explains tasks correctly? I look forward to your opinions and contributions.
Thanks for reading!
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