“D’oh!” That’s what Homer Simpson says when something goes wrong. Why is delegation one big “D’oh!” for a lot of people?
There can be some fear about delegating tasks or projects because without proper planning, a lot of things can go wrong. How often have you said something like this?
“I can do it faster.” “I can do it better.” “It will take too long to tell them how to do it.” Sound familiar?
But what often happens next is we feel swamped or overwhelmed with too much to do, and at the last minute, we might delegate a task to someone so we can meet a deadline and things go wrong… and then we think “I’ll never do that again!”
But remember, a key to a person’s success is the ability to develop other people and delegation is one way to do it.
Here’s how to turn D’oh (I’ll never do that again!) to OOHH! – That’s how to do it!
Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail
Plan the delegation process well in advance of the due date. Unless you’re very skilled at delegation, it’s not a good idea to shoot from the hip when delegating. Here are some questions to guide you in this process:
- What are the outcomes you want to achieve?
- What potential problems can arise?
- What skills are needed by the person who will do the project?
- What are appropriate check points to see how things are going?
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Right
Pick a person who has the essential skills to do the task. For example, if the project or task is detailed and requires accuracy, choose a person who excels at attention to detail. Or if a project needs creative thinking or may require negotiation skills, match the project to a person with those skills.
Delegating projects or tasks can be a good way to develop people in their careers. A lot depends on the experience of the person and the level of trust and communication that you’ve established, as well.
Planning for Development
One way to look at delegation in terms of development is to think about delegating for skill development or for professional development. Generally speaking, a person who is early in their career will benefit from delegated tasks that will expand their skills related to the immediate work performed. People who are looking to climb the ladder will benefit from tasks or projects that are outside of their immediate scope of responsibility and will help them go to the next level.
If you have confidence in the person and there is an established track record of successful performance, it may be easier to delegate more complex projects that are outside of a person’s skill-strengths. These types of situations are good for delegating projects to expand a person’s depth or range of skills.
However, if the other person is relatively new to the job, avoid making assumptions that they’re able to take on a complex project or task. Closer supervision may be required.
So the first step is to PLAN to delegate. Plan the task. Plan the person to do the work. Plan on why you want this person to do the task.
Watch for the next blog: Turning Delegation from D’oh! To OOHH! – Part Two – Closing the Loop for Successful Delegation.
Marty Stanley is a national speaker, executive coach and consultant on personal and organizational change. Contact Marty to amp-up your professional or personal or game! 816-695-5453 firstname.lastname@example.org