Delegation is an ability that is not innate to every person.
Managers are often overwhelmed with their responsibilities, but don’t quite have the necessary skills to hand down assignments to their employees.
The good news is that delegation skills can be learned; while there are many theories on this, a great example to follow is called “the Five Rights of Delegation.” Although it was originally intended for nurses, it can be applied by managers in all industries.
The Five Rights of Delegation include:
The Right Task
The first and foremost thing to evaluate when deciding on what tasks to hand off to your staff members is if the task is appropriate to delegate.
Just because you are swamped, and need help to finish a project, does not mean that project should be completed by anyone other than yourself.
For example, staff’s performance reviews should be done by you, and not a senior team member who you fully trust.
Just because it may cause you to stay overtime to complete other tasks, doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to hand off all assignments.
Items that are confidential or simply require a high-level of skill and experience need to be completed by you, the manager.
The Right Circumstance
Once you have decided that the task is appropriate to delegate, assess the circumstance.
Is the person or group you are assigning this to available to complete the assignments?
They may be busy on another project and not have the time available.
Furthermore, consider the project’s deadline to make sure that the person/people will have sufficient time to get everything done.
If the task is due Monday morning, assigning it at 4pm on Friday may not leave enough time to get it completed.
The Right Person
Not every person in your group may be the best candidate for a given task.
People are different, have various strengths and weaknesses, and different skill and experience levels.
You should consider the task at hand, and think of who out of your staff would be the most appropriate to get the job done right.
The Right Direction/ Communication
This step in the delegation process requires a two-way communication process in which the delegator properly and clearly explains what needs to be done and the person being delegated understands.
This may require the employee to ask questions or raise concerns if something is not clear, and the manager to double check that the message was received.
The Right Supervision
The last step in the five steps of delegation requires the right amount of supervision for the given task, depending on the employee and the circumstances.
If it’s a new employee, or one that is doing a project for the first time, a bit of micromanaging may be helpful.
However, if a seasoned staff is completing a series of similar projects, macromanaging may be more appropriate.
Head of Training and Development
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Mark Williams is a learning and development professional, using business psychology and multiple intelligences to create fascinating and quickly-identifiable learning initiatives in the real-world business setting. Mark’s role at MTD is to ensure that our training is leading edge, and works closely with our trainers to develop the best learning experiences for all people on learning programmes. Mark designs and delivers training programmes for businesses both small and large and strives to ensure that MTD’s clients are receiving the very best training, support and services that will really make a difference to their business.