Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Art of Delegation, Part 2 of 2

This article was written by Barry Mc Kinley, SCORE Orange County Business Mentor

imageIn last month’s article we discussed the need for entrepreneurs to learn the art of delegation. We covered the most common excuses used for not delegating, and we highlighted when to delegate. This article will cover some of the other questions you must consider before and during delegation.

The first question you must ask is, by delegating would failure be critical? As in learning any new skill the person will be slower and very cautious at the start. As they develop more proficiency they will become more confident and accurate. With that being said would it make sense to delegate a first solo flight in a thunder storm to a brand new pilot? This would be no more effective then teaching somebody how to swim by throwing them in the deep end of the pool and telling them, ‘learn to swim or drown’.

There are some tasks that should not be delegated. For example, one of the most common mistakes business owners make is delegating hiring employees to other employees. By doing this the interviewing employee will hire who they like and who will not challenge them in their job. But what business owner would want weak, unskilled and non-motivated employees?

When choosing a person to delegate tasks to consider the following: Do they have the experience, skills and knowledge to complete the assigned task? Do you have the time and resources to provide the training needed? Does the employee have the work style and independence to accept the challenge? Does the employee’s job interest and long term goals align with the job proposed?

You must also consider the current workload of the employee. Will they have enough time to take on and complete the work or will this just require reshuffling and not completing other tasks. Will you work with them to decide what tasks to start and what can be put to the side? This is also a great opportunity to explain to the employee how to prioritize their workload and just as important, why.

To be successful at delegation you must;

· Clearly explain the desired outcome.

· Define constraints and boundaries.

· Clarify the lines of authority and accountability.

· Explain what to do if the employee runs into a problem.

· Be reasonable on the work load that you are delegating.

· Expect the employee not to be able to work at your level or standard.

· Provided adequate support and be available to answer questions.

· Be focused on results (your way may not be the best way).

· Do not micro-manage.

· Establish and maintain control.

· Discuss timelines and deadlines.

· Agree on a schedule of checkpoints where you will review the process.

· Be willing to make adjustments.

The Art of Delegation at the start can feel like it is more hassle then it’s worth, however by delegating effectively, you can greatly expand the amount of work that you can deliver.

To delegate effectively, choose the right tasks to delegate, identify the right people to delegate to, and delegate the right way. With experience you will become better at delegation just as the people you delegate to become more skilled. Together you will develop a winning team.

Effective Delegators: Work Less---Accomplish More!