By Kathy Mendonca and Suzy Thorman
Delegation is more than just assigning a task to someone. It involves designating responsibility and indicating the level of authority in which they can act. Your role is to follow up to ensure progress while honoring the employee’s autonomy.
Keep in mind, there is a difference between following up and micromanaging. Delegating a task, only to nitpick every detail and every choice the employee makes, will only frustrate them and make you even busier than you would have been had you done it yourself.
Occasional or ongoing follow-up benefits both you and the employee. It gives you insight into their progress and gives them the opportunity to ask questions or seek guidance on obstacles that have arisen.
Here are some best practices for getting to a quality outcome:
Assign the task to one person. If you delegate components to different people, you end up having to pull it all together. The best way to give the employee ownership is to delegate the entire task to them, and they in turn can delegate to others as appropriate. You end up with the compiled product.
Follow up on assigned tasks. Just as the employee you delegate to needs to be accountable for reporting in, you need to be accountable for following up. Convey the expectation that the employee is responsible for the task and for reporting updates to you. If the employee misses a requested update or deadline, it is your responsibility to immediately follow up with them.
This Delegation Log template is a useful tool for keeping track of what tasks you have delegated and their current status.
Accept only completed work on delivery due date. This sends a clear message that only quality work, meeting the agreed upon standards, will be accepted and that any rework is the responsibility of the employee.
Conduct a debrief session at task completion. Discussing successes and lessons learned ensures helpful practices are acknowledged and carried forward, and mistakes are learned from and alternative approaches found.
This Delegation Debrief template can be used by you and your employee to reflect on completed tasks or projects.
If you are 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