Rudy Miick on managing for results

Effective delegation is as elusive as it is critical for successful leadership and management, says Rudy Miick FCSI, CMC

Delegation is often overlooked as an effective system for managing. Here’s my step-by-step approach that, used consistently, will achieve the results you want and need.

Step one: Think
First of all, really take note and pay attention to what and to whom you’re delegating and why. Do not delegate anything you ought to do. Do not do anything you can or ought to delegate!

Step two: What (needs to be done)
Identifying what needs to be done should be obvious. However, be aware that objectives, tasks and goals that are named too broadly can become easily missed. Beware words like professional, good and excellent. Instead, name specific metrics, behaviours that are expected from the named ‘what’ that needs to be done.

Step three: Why
The ‘why’ is really important. And most often, the answer to ‘why’ is “because I’m your boss and I’m telling or asking you to do this.” Instead, think of and share the biggest ‘why’ you can think of. If you or your company have a defined purpose statement, mission, vision or business values, then name those as an ultimate ‘why’.

Step four: Who (is the right person to do it, and are they willing to do this?)
If the person to whom you want to delegate does not really want to do the job, they may have set up themselves up for a potential big miss. Sharing the ‘why’ with them, the reason for taking the job on, can create a compelling picture for a team member being delegated to the first time. Are they willing? Are they capable? What do you need to do to assure this? Can someone say no in your organisation? Can we re-negotiate the criterion of what’s being delegated so I can say yes?

Step five: How (will this job get done successfully?)
Create dialogue time to support your delegation leader if needed. This is especially smart when delegating to someone for the first or second time.

Step six: When (check back, feedback, completion date: be specific!)
This step is often missed and creates havoc when not completed. Until someone has a proven track record accomplishing jobs delegated to them, check backs are critical. At the very least, imagine a hand being raised asking for help. Have a check back defined that is early enough that IF a project is not going in the right direction, you and your team can course correct without missing your deadline.
The less proven the person being delegated to, the more check-ins or feedback sessions I’d recommend.

Along the way, check for understanding: what are the needs, support, assumptions, and exact expectations as the project evolves toward the deadline? Loosen the check back cycle as a person proves themselves. Don’t assume because they say they have it, that they do.

The six steps I’ve offered you and your clients are equivalent to Roman numeral headers on an outline we could call, ‘systems to design with our clients.’ And, make no mistake, there is a long list of ‘to-do’s’ in the implementation of each of these steps, including the way they integrate, regardless of project status, pre-construction, construction, opening and ongoing operations.

Last, the success of each of these steps is a depth into which we facilitate clean, clear definitions of excellence. The clarity and delivery of these systems is a ‘management advisory’ equivalent to a clear, well defined specification of a great design.

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