Thursday, October 14, 2010

Delegating Effectively

Delegating in the workplace means sharing your workload and assigning work responsibility and/or tasks to co-workers. If you have a difficult time delegating, you’re not alone. However, if you avoid delegating, you might actually be doing a disservice to you and your employer.
Most employers would agree that your time and talents are best served working on important tasks and/or those for which you have a keen aptitude, knowledge, or experience. Therefore, if you target the right people and the right tasks, delegating makes good business sense.
Start by making a list of all the work you have to complete within a given time period. Begin with high-level responsibilities and tasks, and then drill down to the smaller tasks associated with each. Next, identify those smaller tasks that can be delegated, and determine which competent and reliable co-worker(s) can handle these tasks. Now you’re almost ready to start delegating the work, but before you do, consider the following advice:
  • Draw your manager in: Have a conversation with your manager about how involved he/she wants to be in delegating work to co-workers.
  • Delegate wisely: Be smart about what work you delegate and to whom.
  • Be respectful of your co-workers: Whether you’re delegating to a co-worker who is a subordinate, a peer, or a higher pay grade, be respectful and courteous in your approach. Even in cases where you have the authority to delegate tasks, be sensitive to the fact that everyone has their own work responsibilities and deadlines.
  • Communicate expectations and provide direction: Set and communicate realistic expectations. When necessary, provide specific directions on how to complete the task. Set deadlines and communicate necessary checkpoints and a timeline for those checkpoints.
  • Remember, you’re responsible: In most cases, you will be ultimately responsible for the work you delegate; therefore, it is in your best interest to help those you delegate to so they can be successful.
  • Evaluate success: You can measure your success at delegating by assessing the outcomes. Use criteria like whether the work was done well, on time, and within budget. If the work you’re delegating isn’t up to par, rethink whether you’re delegating the right tasks to the right people and whether you’ve communicated clear expectations and directions.

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