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Penny van der Westhuizen, one of our amazing project managers has taken her years of experience managing cross-functional teams to share insights and tips on effective delegation.
Delegation is the practice of giving one of your colleagues the authority to make decisions within defined areas of responsibility; to authorize someone to do a job on your behalf. It does not mean that you are free from the responsibility for it. You still continue to be accountable, if things go wrong.
Sounds amazing right? So why do so many people get it wrong? These are some of the reasons why you may not be getting the desired results when delegating:
1. Know your work
What are the tasks/projects that need to be completed, and how will you know when they have been completed successfully? Focusing on SMART objectives and breaking them down further into subtasks, subprojects, or sub-objectives.
Planning backward is a good practice. Start with the goal and then mentally plan the steps required to meet the goal, in reverse chronological order. This has a powerful effect and enhances the likelihood of goals being achieved.
Engage with the assigned team member. Assignments should be based on their level of experience, knowledge, skill, and motivation. Take the following into consideration and action accordingly:
Outline the task, and how it fits into the broader scheme of things as well as what you think is the sensible pieces of the task. Explain the why and the how.
Get their views on what you are proposing. Bear in mind that in many work situations the people at the “sharp-end” (closest to the work to be done) have a much better sense of how things can best be achieved.
Discuss and agree on the SMART objectives. If the individual feels they are going to hit a blocker, you will need to explore why and how you might be able to help them achieve the objectives.
Confirm in writing what has been agreed, timelines and when check-ins will happen to monitor progress.
Prioritize and focus your feedback. Consider the feedback’s potential value to the receiver and how you would respond – could you act on the feedback? As well, too much feedback provided at a single time can be overwhelming to the recipient. Your feedback should be a continuous process, not a one-time event. Use the following feedback tips:
Penny van der Westhuizen