by Suzy Thorman and Kathy Mendonca
In today’s campus climate, managers and supervisors are expected to achieve business objectives with less resources. Given your current workload you may be asking yourself, how on earth can this be accomplished?
One possible answer to this question is through the use of delegation.
We can hear you now… “How can I possibly delegate when I am so short-staffed?” or “I can’t delegate because my staff’s plates are already so full.”
We don’t want to mislead you. When the above is the case, no matter how good you are at delegating, you are going to have to spend time analyzing the work of your unit. What are the things you need to stop doing, start doing, or continue doing?
That being said, delegation is still a key supervisory tool. It serves to increase your performance, the performance of your unit, and develops your staff.
When you delegate, you move the responsibility for that task to someone else, which frees you up for other work and gives you time to step back and take a more strategic view. Keep in mind, when choosing who to delegate a task to, performance of the unit is the driving factor. The sweet spot occurs when the task at hand aligns with the employee’s development goals.
We’ve found successful delegation involves four key steps:
- Preparation: Before meeting with the employee, be clear in your own mind about task objectives, success measures, resources, and possible barriers.
- Build Agreement: In a face-to-face meeting with the employee, describe the task, and discuss ideas, concerns and support needed.
- Check-in: During the life of the task, provide opportunities for regular progress reports (adjusting the task as necessary), along with ongoing feedback, guidance and support.
- Conclude: Upon competition of the task, meet with the employee to reflect on successes, challenges, and lessons learned.
If you’re interested in learning more about the art of delegating, we invite you to register for our KEYS Delegation Skills workshop (search in the UC Learning Center for this title). In the meantime, here are some delegation best practices shared by your fellow supervisors and managers at our last workshop.