Good management means getting things done through people. Whether you manage a store, an office, a club, or a household that means delegating tasks and/or responsibilities to others. Delegating does not mean dumping. Proper delegation involves, at a minimum, the following five steps:
Who. For each task or project, decide who should do it, assigning each to the lowest level of competence. You’re terrific, but you can’t do everything yourself.
Why. The person who’s going to do the job needs to understand the importance of it and why he was selected to do it. Everyone works better when they know that what they’re doing is important and appreciated.
How. It’s amazing how willing and helpful people are when you not only ask them to do something, but explain how to do it. Sometimes this means setting the project goal. Often it means teaching the ins and outs of executing the job. At times it means doing part of the job to model the right behavior.
When. Never, never, never delegate without setting a deadline. Asking someone to finish a task ASAP is a sure way to have them put it off until you remind them and set a deadline. Set a time when the job must be completed (even if it’s a little arbitrary) and set a timetable for you to review progress. Then follow up! Remember, you get what you inspect, not what you expect.
Where. Don’t assign a project or task without pointing out where to find the tools, information, and personnel resources needed to accomplish the job. And don’t just point, anoint. Let everyone else who’ll be involved know that “so-and-so” is your delegate to do the job and deserves full cooperation.
Successful delegation means interaction at every step of the process. Delegate the job, then follow up, and feed back the results.