Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Up your delegation IQ with this 8 point checklist.

Delegation is a 2-way street, make sure you're managing your part to maximize the impact leverage has on your bottom line. 

8 points to consider when you delegate work to an employee or contractor: 

1.  Define the assignment exactly. 

Describe end results as well as any other interim deliverables. Consider mocking up tables or charts; indicate about how many pages you expect to see. Be as specific as possible. If you have something that looks similar, show it.

2.  Be clear on due dates and deliverables.

Ask “when do you think you can have it done?” If the answer doesn’t meet requirements, follow up to see if there are other priorities you can rearrange. At the end of the conversation, be clear on the commitments to deliver. Never leave it at “as soon as you can”. If you think the person has over-committed, question the deadline. You’re training your employee to be reliable as well as realistic.

3.  Specify when you want to see drafts or work-in-progress.

If this is a complex task or a new deliverable for the person, you might want to see a very early draft to make sure the work is moving in the right direction. This can save you a lot of time on the back end.

4.  Establish approval and interim check points.

If there are any critical check points, assign them. Manage yourself to be sure you aren’t a bottleneck in the project. Create appointments for reviews.

     5.  Identify anyone else who needs to be involved.
Discuss any dependencies. Ensure that anyone else who needs to be involved is aware of the schedule. Make sure your employee understands that he should raise a red flag if the project is slipping due to dependencies.

6.  Discuss anything else needed to start the project.

Files or file/systems access? Supplies? Samples?

7.  Anticipate any potential obstacles or challenges.

Identify issues that may arise and how they might be preempted or addressed.

8.  Ask, “Is everything clear?”

Each point should be discussed as needed. This is the wrap-up question, a chance to be sure you’re on the same page. If you have doubts, ask the person to repeat the assignment back to you. This seems like such a no-brainer question, but I promise you’ll get some surprising responses at some point in your career as a manager!