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Delegation is an important skill that all managers use frequently and is at the heart of any organization's success. However, sometimes delegation does not go smoothly, because the manager and the employee don't share the same understanding of the process. There are lot of ways to look at delegation, but one that works well in many US companies is what I call the four-phase model of delegation. The four phases are called: Evaluation, Handover, Support, and Debrief. The phases are linear, meaning that you need to complete one before you go on to the next.
The first phase in the four-phase process is called Evaluation. In this phase you assess aspects of the organization, your workload, and your employees. This will help you determine what can and should be delegated and to whom various projects should be given. Evaluation has two parts: evaluating the task, and evaluating the people. Each part is important and will ultimately guide what you delegate and to whom. Unfortunately, evaluation is the phase that most managers skip, because they feel pressed for time.
This can set up a pattern where managers try to do too many things themselves, and then when the workload gets to be too much, dump tasks on others at the last minute. This not only affects the success of the tasks being done well, but can also harm the relationship between the manager and employees. So take the time to do this phase because it will set you and your team up for success. It will take a little time up front, but consider it an investment that will pay off down the road. When evaluating the task you should start with assessing the organization and your responsibilities as a manager.
It's important to get a thorough look at the big picture because that will guide several of your delegation decisions for months to come. Plan to take at least one week to do a thorough evaluation process. This will help you get a sense of how you really spend your time. In the exercise files, you'll find Evaluation packet to help you do this. You will want to analyze your workload first, take notes about what you spend your time on each day, use the schedule grid page of the handout, and fill in what a couple of typical weeks look like for you.
In addition to time you spend on projects, in meetings, and coaching employees, be sure to include time you spend on mental tasks, like thinking, analyzing, and strategizing. Once you have your 2-week sample of your workload, think more long term. Use the looking ahead page to predict any projects coming your way in the next year. I like to look at 3-month segments or quarters. Now that you've got a sense of what is really on your plate, you're ready to start analyzing tasks to delegate.
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