The key to delegation is effective communication. What are they expected to do and by when? What if a problem arises? Here's how to talk openly and clearly so everyone is on the same page.
- In delegation as with all relationships, the secret to success is good communication. What are they expected to do and by when? What should they do if they don't know how to do something? These are basic questions and yet many people who try to delegate never set up a procedure with the person they're working with so the moment trouble or even confusion strikes it turns into a problem but with just a bit of advanced planning, you can avoid many of the most damaging situations. Here's how to talk openly and clearly so everyone is on the same page.
First, for every project you assign, you have to assign a deadline period. Your employee may have done an amazing job on that analysis of the Brazilian market but if he gets it to you in a month when you actually needed it in a week, it's of zero use. You both have to be crystal clear on the deadline for every task and also the priority level. It's worth making this explicit and ranking every assignment either top priority, do this first because it's literally the most important thing going on right now or high, medium or low priority.
That enables the person you're delegating to to balance these various obligations more effectively. Next, it's useful to set up a regular check-in schedule. This could be a meeting every week or couple of weeks for instance so you know you'll have a time to tackle issues that come up but in addition, you should create a game plan for how they can reach you most effectively in between when they have a question or don't know hot to do something. Get very specific here. Do you like it best when they email you or do you prefer phone calls or texts? How quickly in general can they expect a response? Are there certain times they shouldn't try to reach you like on weekends? What if it's an emergency? And what if you need to get in touch with them? Answer these questions together so there's no guessing and you don't have to figure it out on the fly in the middle of a crisis.
Effective communication can prevent many problems and it can keep emerging ones from getting worse, so it's well worth spending the time up front to get clear on procedures and make sure you have an open channel to each other.