Delegation isn't effective if you're constantly worried about whether something will really get done. Here's how to set up accountability systems to put your mind at ease.
- A big part of the reason we delegate is to get particular tasks off our minds so we don't have to worry about them anymore. But that only works if you're certain something will really get done. Otherwise it creates an open loop and you're still worrying about it endlessly. Here's how to set up systems to put your mind at ease. First, you'll want to create a tracking mechanism that you and the person you're delegating to can use together. There's no one right answer for this. But there is a wrong answer, and that is email. If you're constantly shooting notes over to the person and saying, hey, can you do this, it's easy to lose track of what you asked for.
And you're relying on them 100% to keep track of it, which, let's be honest, may or may not be a good idea. Instead, use a shared system you can both access that provides an official record of what they're working on. You could use something as simple as a shared spreadsheet you can access in the cloud. Or some kind of project management software. Whatever it is, make sure you can both access it at any time, to check what's on the list. Next, make sure that you're receiving regular status updates for every project. To make that easy, you could standardize a memo format, for instance.
If you have an in-person check-in meeting every week, you could ask your employee to email you the update memo the day before, so you can be especially efficient during the meeting and hone in on any problem areas. For instance, if a project is due soon, and your employee reports for two consecutive weeks that the status is waiting for documents from Meda, that's helpful information, because you can ask, why haven't you gotten the documents? And did you call Meda to ask? And if Meda's out on vacation, why don't you get them from her coworker? Tracking projects every week, on paper, helps make sure you avoid at least the stupid bottlenecks.
Finally, you've been tracking the projects diligently, so don't falter at the last step. It's important to make sure that nothing comes off the list until both you and your employee agree that the project is done. They might have a liberal interpretation. Well, I emailed it to you and you didn't write back to say there was anything wrong with it. No, at your check-in meetings that happen in-person, you review all the projects together and only then, do you both make the determination that something is actually complete.
That ensures, not just that it's done, but also done well.