Delegation in Five Easy Steps


Delegation is the cornerstone of effective leadership. However, few people know how to delegate. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to delegate effectively:

Five steps:

Step One: Get clarity! What does success look like? What roles or tasks are you delegating? Define the desired result. Make the goal 100% clear.

Step Two: Get commitment from the person accepting the new tasks or role. If he is not 100% committed to assuming the additional task, delegation is doomed to failure.

Step Three: Define an action plan to accomplish the delegated task or role. (Managers must be ready to accept ideas, or new ways of accomplishing the task. This is where the person doing the delegated task can propose changes in the process for improved efficiency.)

Step Four: Dedicate necessary resources (human, financial, technical) so the person doing the task, or role, has the requisite tools to succeed. Moreover, the Manager (who is delegating the task) will commit to helping out if the person doing the delegated task needs more support. This is a safety net.

Step Five: Check results at a specific future time. If the work is well done, the delegation is complete. However if the job is inadequate, the Manager must give his colleague more training, and other resources, ensuring success going forward.  This is key. Shortcomings are learning experiences.

Delegation is simple, but not easy. British comedian and management consultant, John Cleese, summarized delegation: “Take your hands off but keep your eyes on.” (more…)

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First Things First

‘First Things First’ is the habit of organizing activities around goals and priorities, rather than managing time.  Okay, but how do we focus on priorities, when our lives are full of urgencies and distractions?   It starts with a model:

Every action has two drivers; namely, urgency and importance.  If we put urgency and importance on separate vectors, they are the backbone of Steven Covey’s four-quadrant model:

Quadrant One actions are both urgent and important. You must do them immediately because delays have serious consequences.  For example, if your baby has a high fever, you must look after your baby now!  The fever is urgent and very important. Yes, urgent and important issues are unavoidable, but many of us spend all our time in Quadrant One, leaving no time for long-term goals and values. Effectiveness means shrinking the size of Quadrant One.

Quadrant Two is the heart of powerful leadership.  These tasks are critical to long-term goals and values, such as: building meaningful relationships, writing mission statements, exercising, learning new skills, planning, and true recreation.  Inherently, we know Quadrant Two is crucial, but this quadrant is neglected because we waste  time in Quadrants Three and Four.

Quadrant Three is the zone of urgent yet petty things.  These tasks feel important because they matter to someone.  Nevertheless, they are irrelevant to your long-term goals. Quadrant three includes shallow relationships, aimless meetings, most incoming calls, and dumb reports.

Quadrant Four is a pure waste of time: This includes trivial discussions, busy (but meaningless) work, redundant emails, gossip, checking cell phones every 5 minutes, listening to perennial complainers, surfing the Internet, reading junk mail and so forth. (more…)

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