If you want to become a great manager, one of the skills you have to learn is how to delegate. What I’ve noticed is that often when people don’t have a solid delegation process, that’s when things tend to break down.
Have you ever asked a team member to do something only to find that surprise, surprise, it hasn’t been done? Chances are that this happens daily or weekly. Even worse is that you may feel that you can’t trust your team to do certain activities so you may have even stopped asking because ‘it’s easier if I just do it myself’
Below I’ve shared a delegation framework that you can use when you’re delegating tasks to team members.
5 step delegation formula
1. Take the time to explain properly.
Explaining what needs to be done and why it needs to be done is the crucial first step. Set the context for the team member so that they understand the task or project and the outcome you require. If you’re in a rush, slow it down – make the time to explain properly.
If there’s something that’s particularly complicated or if their body language suggests that they don’t completely understand try the following conversation “I’ve just explained what it is I need you to do, could you give me your understanding of what you think is required.”
This will help you correct the expectation at the instant.
2. Assess skills.
If your team member has not done this before, discuss and agree how you want the project completed and why you need it done this way. Get their feedback on how they would do it and take this on board.
Make sure that you take into account if someone is brand new or if the task is new, they may need a walkthrough.
Set the person up for success by making sure they have everything they need. Think time, money & information. I like to do this by asking the team member ‘what do you think you’ll need to complete this task as agreed?’
4. Act – Report or report – Act.
Act – report is when you ask someone to do something and check in with you once it has been completed. Use Act – Report when someone knows how to do the task. e.g. please call John before lunch and place that order, drop me an email to let me know it’s all okay.
Report – act is when a task has a critical decision-making element and you want to be involved in the decision-making process. This is best when the team member doesn’t have the skill, authority or budget to make the decision. e.g. please call John before lunch and shortlist the 3 best options with costs and details. We can then agree on the best option and you can place the order. (This, in turn, could lead back to Act – Report in the previous example)
5. Set a specific deadline
This is crucial! Ensure there is an agreed deadline for any key milestones (if it’s a larger project). Also, use check-ups to ensure a task is on track. For example, if something is due by Friday, ask your team member to check in with a progress report on Wednesday. This allows you to track progress and provide feedback.
It’s always tempting to do things yourself instead of taking the time to delegate it effectively to others, but this is a false economy. The danger is that you end up with a to-do list of £7 an hour tasks which means you never have the time to complete that marketing plan or review the management accounts and other high-value activities.
Just think, who is growing your business while you are doing the admin?