How to Delegate

…inspired by Mike’s best-selling book, “Brilliant Time Management – How to Manage Your Time”.

Let’s talk about one of your most useful assets, for helping you to manage the way you use your time delegation. Now, delegation can be a whole video course, in itself. And indeed, it is very much my aim that it will be in the not too distant future. So keep an eye out for that. But let’s talk a bit about delegation because it’s a useful adjunct to our time management. Now, the first thing I want to draw your attention to is the idea, the reverse delegation. You see, most of us, particularly those of us who have a level of responsibility within our organizations are prone to using four words that leave us with regret for the rest of our day. You see, one of our colleagues will come up to us. And they’ll say, Hey, Mike, if you’ve got a moment, and I’ll think, No, I haven’t really I’m very busy. But I don’t want to appear to be unhelpful. So I listen to my colleague as they describe their problem, and I haven’t got time to fix it. Now. I have a really good time to talk now. So I use the forward so I’m going to regret for the rest of the day. Leave it with me. So I pick up their problem. Like a monkey on my shoulder, I carry it back to my desk, and I put it on my desk, where it’s battling for space with the other monkeys that I picked up during the day. And right at the back of the desk, of course, there are my monkeys getting squeezed against. The mistake, of course, was to say, leave it with me. And the metaphor of this being like a monkey tracks back to an article and training courses run by William monken, Jr. The article is in the Harvard Business Review, and it appeared in book form, as the one minute manager meets the monkey, which William on co wrote with Ken Blanchard. Now on Ken’s advice is simple. The mistake, of course, is that leave it with me, we should take just a little bit more time to find out what the task is. And particularly, to find out what the first step that needs to be taken in that task. And your ideal situation is to find a small, tiny first step, that the person who has come to you with the problem can take themselves and you leave it with them. You tell them very clearly what they need to do first, you set them a deadline, you leave the monkey with them, and they then come back to you at a time that suits you and you’re back in control. onken describes delegation as being like having a whole family of monkeys. And it is because when I delegate to you, I’m giving you a whole bunch of tasks. And it’s important to remember what delegation is and how it differs from allocation. If I’m your supervisor, or I’m your manager, and you and a number of colleagues have a shared set of responsibilities, allocation is telling you which of your responsibilities I want you to deal with, and which I want your colleagues to deal with. That’s allocation of work. delegation of work is taking my work and giving it to you. Delegate for the right reasons, don’t ditch the work you don’t want to do, because you don’t like it. Don’t ditch the dangerous work that could blow up in your face and give it to someone else. Don’t do it as a punishment or to set people up to fail. Delegate for good Reasons delegate because it is an efficient way to use the resources you’ve got delegate because it shows trust in colleagues who are developing their skills delegate because it’s an opportunity for someone to learn a new skill and to develop themselves. Delegate because a new mind will address a problem in a new way and find a new solution, which may just be better. delegation is a phenomenally powerful time management tool. So let’s understand the five steps of how delegation works. And step one is called matching. It’s about matching the task to the person. It’s about understanding precisely what it is you want to delegate. It’s about understanding the breadth of skills, experience, ambitions, enthusiasms talents, strengths of the people you have available to and matching the right person. To the right task. If you always give the best tasks to your favorite people or people you think are best, that’s not matching that’s favoritism. If you always give the rubbish tasks, so the people you want to punish, because you don’t feel they’re that good, and that’s favoritism to in the other sort of way. So, first step is matching the task to the person. The second step is briefing. One of the reasons people don’t like to delegate is delegation takes time I could do it quicker myself, I hear you think, Well, yes, very often you could, because good briefing takes timing. But another reason why people don’t delegate is, if I give it to her, she’ll just keep coming back and nagging at me. If I give it to him, he’ll keep asking questions. Whenever he runs into a problem. I’ll never be free of the task. If you brief well, then you won’t get that nagging and that series of questions All you’ll get is someone who knows and understands what they need to do. So invest the time in a good briefing. We’re looking at a minute, what the four key elements of a good briefing are. And the three little extras that can make your briefing watertight. Having briefed, the most important component is often the one that people forget commitment. Look the person in the eye and ask them three questions. One, do you fully understand what I am asking of you? When you get an unambiguous Yes, ask the second one. Do you really do you believe you have the experience, the expertise, the knowledge, the support, the guidance and the resources to do what I’m asking of you? And if you get an unambiguous Yes, ask the third question. look them in the eye and say, will you do this piece of work to the standard? I’m asking of you. Bye. The deadline, I’ve said, if they say, Yes, you’ve got your commitment, and you can be fairly confident that you’ll get the work done. In return, you need to give your commitment to provide the guidance and the support and the feedback they need to not only do the work well and safely, but also to help them develop and feel confident. The fourth step is monitoring. You need to constantly monitor what they’re doing. And by constantly I don’t mean be there all the time poking your fingers into their business, but to set a regime of monitoring that keeps them and you and the organization safe, because this is your task. It’s your responsibility, you’re delegating and you are still responsible for the safety. So this is risk management on a task, which is complex With an individual who has few skills, where there is a substantial risk, then make sure your monitoring regime is fairly ruthless and robust. And funny other hands, you’ve got an experienced individual doing a relatively simple task with a relatively low risk, you can go completely hands off. So choose a monitoring regime that matches the risk level of the situation. The final step comes when the task is finished and handed over, and it’s about feedback. You must first of all, give recognition for what the person has achieved. Secondly, you must give appropriate praise and thanks for the work they put in. And finally, you must give them good developmental feedback that will help them understand what they have done, and how they have done it, and how their actions have contributed to the level of success or otherwise of The task. Developmental feedback is about noticing what’s good, making sure people understand how to apply that next time, but also understanding where mistakes are made been made, and why they are mistakes and how to avoid them. So a simple five step process for delegation, matching, briefing, commitment, monitoring and feedback. I said, we talked about what goes into a good briefing. Here it is. The four essentials spell out the word boat. First, give a clear background and context to what it is you’re asking and why you’re asking it. Because if I understand the background to what you’re asking me to do, then I have far more likely to be able to make intelligent judgments and choices when confronted with situations that are outside of the scope of your briefing. Secondly, let me know for sure what the outcomes are that you Expecting of me. I want to do a good job, I want to do an excellent job. So tell me what excellent looks like. Next, I need to know the level of authority You’re giving me. And this is back to risk management. Are you giving me full authority to act in your name and take any decisions I need to without consulting you? Are you giving me authority to do some thinking and come back to you to check on what I’m going to do next before taking a step? And fourthly, I need to know the timescales. I need to know when you’re expecting this to be done by so that I can plan it into my work schedule. These four things will always be necessary, but there are three others are things that can make the boat watertight, if you need them. For a highly regulated task with a defined procedure, or when you’re working with someone who really doesn’t know how to get started. You may want to spend out the tasks. There might also be some admin requirements, maybe some reporting, maybe some form filling. And finally, if you’re giving me any resources to help me do it or giving me access to people or information, then let me know the resources that I have available to me. So seven things that you might want to include in your briefing for mandatory background outcomes, or authority and time and then three to make it watertight tasks, admin resources.