“Delegating work works provided the one delegating works, too.”
– Robert Half
Most agree that delegation is critical to management success. If that is true then why are we usually left unhappy with the results we get after we delegated?
WHY! WHY! Why, do I not get what I asked for?
Failed delegation is rarely the fault of the person to whom you delegated. Usually, it is the fault of the person delegating.
What is the common root of failed delegation?
99% of the time the leader’s instructions have not provided clarity for the person doing the work.
What is the secret to successful Delegation?
There are four things you must be 100% clear on:
- Clarity of objective –
What exactly is it that needs to be done? Is an assignment as clear as it can be?
If a report is required, what exactly is to be completed? An email? A 1-page summary? A 10-page brief? Or, a 40-page report?
When is it to be completed?
What are the resources that are going to be available?
- Clarity of responsibility
Whose assignment is it? Who does what to whom?
- Clarity of time
The request was for a “quick competitive analysis.” Well, how quick is quick? A day? A week? Two weeks?
- Clarity of communication
Who reports to who? When are status reports and updates due? When do you as the assigner want to know about risks and problem?
The Solution? Personal Charters
There’s no guarantee you’ll end up precisely with what you want, but you can improve the odds by creating a charter between you and the person to whom you are delegating a task.
This ‘charters’ can be verbal, in an email or a formal written document. The point of is to clarify expectations, milestones, terms & timings, schedule accountability and establish reporting expectations.