When Danette Jordan, a brand manager at Austin, Nichols Soft Drinks, began her career, she set out to complete her tasks single-handedly. “In the beginning I always tried to do things myself,” admits Jordan. “But I had to realize that I’m not a superwoman.”
In addition to her daily responsibilities, she spent an inordinate amount of time trying to locate suppliers for the New York spirits and soft drinks manufacturer or fielding telephone calls — a job she could have asked a colleague to help her with. She eventually saw where delegating some of her tasks shortened the time it took to complete her assignments. Now the 32-year-old believes delegation not only made her more effective in daily operations but also contributed to her career growth. She adds, “The delegation skills I practice help me be a part of the team and meet the company’s objectives.”
Can delegation improve the results you get from your staff? Robert Davis, co-author of Business by Referral (Bard Press, $15.95), says delegation can sharpen your skills and increase your commitment to the organization. In addition, the added responsibilities that you provide your employees will “nurture careers and boost morale.”
Effective delegation requires managers to abandon any preconceived notions they have about the process. Contrary to popular belief, delegation does not mean you have to give up control. “If done effectively, delegation can provide you with more control,” Davis explains. “The key is to ensure that your employees understand your expectations and keep you informed about their decisions before they implement them.” To make delegation work for you, Davis recommends you take the following steps:
Identify which tasks you should delegate.
Generally, any tasks that require special authority, education, training or experience should not be delegated. At the same time, resist the temptation to delegate only the mundane assignments to your subordinates. Also, instill in your staff that you’re more concerned with the end result of a project or task than the day-to-day details that come with them.
Assess your staff and list qualified candidates.
First, evaluate the talents, skills and abilities of your staff members. Then consider the responsibilities, personal goals and performance ratings for each employee. Before drafting from your list of qualified candidates, examine the person’s current workload and determine whether the new assignment warrants additional compensation.
Design a training program.
If you find that training is necessary, secure the required resources and materials in advance. Bring in a consultant if need be. All the plans for the training process should be in place or should have taken place before you sit down with the employee.
Schedule a meeting with the selected employee.
With a prepared agenda in hand, provide the designated employee with a detailed description of the new assignment. Be sure to cover the parameters of the project, the desired results, how the employee’s old responsibilities will be affected, whether the employee will receive additional compensation or rewards, as well as meeting times for progress updates. The employee should be given the opportunity to express any questions or concerns. Extensive communication