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Small Business Digest


Top Ten Steps To Effective Delegation

Executives and managers are often left feeling frustrated when their staff doesn't perform a task the way they expected. This feeling can be eliminated by sharpening communication and filling in the gaps that are often left open for interpretation by employees.

Keith Rosen, president of the coaching firm, Profit Builders, LLC and author of Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions (Wiley Publishers, March 2008) offers these guidelines:

Step 1. Know what the task is.

Step 2. Have the end result/desired outcome in mind.

Step 3. Find the person that the task needs to delegate to and give them the task.

Step 4. Share with them the results desired.

Step 5. Ask and inform them why it's important. Making someone feel needed, included and part of the team helps them do a better job, rather than simply telling them what to do.

Step 6. What is the advantage for them to take care of this task? Acknowledge not only their role but also how performing this will benefit them.

Step 7. Ask them how it's going to get done. Ask questions such as, "What do you feel is the best way to handle/complete this?" "How have you handled something like this in the past?" The answers to these questions will determine if they are comfortable performing this task and whether or not they have the right tools/information/strategy needed to complete it. (Caution: while doing this, be careful not to sound condescending, such as "So repeat back what I just told you.")

Step 8. Determine the exact time frame that the task needs to be finished by. "When do you feel you can complete this?" This creates ownership in the person's mind to get it done, since they are creating the time line themselves. (If the time they choose isn't appropriate, ask what would have to happen for the task to be completed sooner.)

Step 9. Reconfirm: That can sound like, "Okay great, then you will be able to have ______done by........ ?" Or "So, I can expect the paperwork on my desk by tomorrow at….?"

Step 10. Most importantly, make sure to follow up at the anticipated time the task was to be completed to ensure it was done. Otherwise, a person runs the risk of training the employee not to be accountable by sending the message that it's okay for tasks not to be completed on time.


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