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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

4 Critical Steps in the Process of Delegation

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4 Critical Steps in the Process of Delegation

Delegation is part of every successful leader’s management style. One reason why delegation is so spot-on is that there is a well-designed process of delegation that ensures a smooth workflow.

Simultaneously, delegation is something that can be personalized as per the needs of every leader’s work environment.

Are you confused about how these two factors go side by side?

It’s simple. There are 4 vital steps that should be followed as is. You can improvise the in-depth details and other parts of the process however you like.

If you want to find out what these 4 steps and how you can get the most out of them, you’re in the right place! Keep reading to find out all about it.

Pre-Planning

If you’ve ever cooked you would know that the better you prep, the tastier your final meal will be.

Delegation is no different. To enhance the outputs of each step of delegation, you need to do some homework before the real deal begins. Only then will you be able to truly save time through delegation.

1. Evaluate Your Employees

The first of these is the evaluation of your employees. Over time, every employee learns more skills and polishes them.

However, there is always something that one individual can do better than the rest. You may have a team member who is an excellent graphic designer. Another one could possibly have a lot of experience with accounting.

It is a management leader’s job to observe each subordinate. Figure out what everyone does best. You have to pinpoint all the skills as well as the lack of skills of every single individual that works with you.

Keep a safe record of this data. It will prove highly beneficial when it comes to delegating tasks. If you’ve already evaluated all your team members, you will know which tasks to assign and who to keep away from them.

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2. Sort Tasks

The next step in pre-planning is to sort tasks. Since more jobs and projects keep coming along by the day, it isn’t something you can do very ahead in time. But as soon as you get the details of a job, you should immediately come up with a plan.

The first thing to do is decide which tasks to delegate and which not to. Next, assemble a team for the ones that need to be delegated. Figure out the deadlines, the level of delegation you want to adopt for each member, and other details.

With solid pre-planning that includes both these steps, you’re more than ready to take on the toughest of projects with the help of delegation!

4 Steps of the Process of Delegation

Moving forward, let’s take a look at the 4 steps that make delegation as strong as it is. Understand each step well. Once you are aware of the process, you can apply delegation the right way in your workspace to achieve numerous benefits.[1]

1. Assignment

With the pre-planning out of the way, you now have to get on with the first step of delegation. It is the assignment of the tasks.

Once you’ve figured out what you want to delegate and who is the most skilled person for it, this step becomes fairly simple.

Now, there are two options. You can either delegate to one expert subordinate who can tackle the task on their own, or if the project is broader, you can devise a team of multi-skilled individuals who are perfect for the job.

At the time of the assignment, you should gather all the subordinates who have to work together. Communicate detailed instructions without leaving any ambiguity. Be open to questions and queries so clarify all confusion.

Secondly, be very clear about the deadlines. Decide your leadership style and delegation-level as this point.[2]

So, if you want certain subordinates to get your heads up on the progress every week, let them know at this stage. Decide a day and time that everyone is comfortable with.

One thing a good leader never does is make deadlines strict when there is no need to. So, be as accommodating as possible.

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Do not hesitate to negotiate. Let your subordinates give suggestions on how they think the work can be improved. If someone wants more time, more supervision, or is unwilling to do the assigned job, be understanding.

Open communication is a vital part of the success of this step.

2. Shift of Authority

When you assign tasks, you’ve not really started delegation yet. At step 1 of the process of delegation, you have only decided who does what. This is pretty much the same as regular task distribution that any manager does in their office.

To actually put delegation to use, you come to step 2. This is where you delegate authority.

Delegation of authority means that you give a degree of power to all the subordinates depending on the task that they have to fulfill.

For example, if you chose a lower-level employee to negotiate with a collaborator, you will also have to give this person all the authority needed to get in touch with the said collaborator.

Not all employees have access to the organization’s contact list. Similarly, not all employees are allowed to get in touch with a third-party, invite them to the office, and host a meeting.

So, for successful delegation, you will give this subordinate access to all the information needed. Any previous deals done with the collaborator will also be shared. A small budget may also have to be allocated for a decent meeting.

Unless authority is delegated in this process, the manager or leader cannot step back.

Look at it this way:

The subordinate gets on with the task without the authority. This person continues to try and get in touch with the collaborator but after multiple failed attempts, contacts you to help you create the link.

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Then, the time for the meeting comes. Once again, the subordinate needs you to clear your schedule to allow for the required arrangements.

Not only is this process a complete waste of time, but it also keeps the manager and leader busy with the task that was meant to be delegated.

Therefore, you cannot skip this step of delegating authority.

3. Submission

Everything went well and the deadline has approached. You expect all your subordinates to come into your office with the best possible results. All you’re looking forward to is a successful output.

More often than not, you either receive exactly what you wanted or something even better. But a fair few times, things can fail too. There can be one subordinate who you expected will do great but ended up with something completely opposite of what was needed.

Here’s the best tip you’ll get today:

When it’s time for the submission, see your subordinates as mere humans, not as your employees.

It is very hard to accept failed submissions calmly but that is what you must do.

In case this unfortunate incident takes place, immediately begin fixing it. You can sit down with the same subordinate and redo the work. Adopt intervention delegation style.

Another thing you can do if you’ve got a busy schedule is to re-delegate the task to another trusted employee. But be more cautious and involved this time around to minimize the risk of failure all over again.

4. Accountability

The job has been done, the project has been completed, and you may think that the process of delegation is complete.

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It isn’t.

The last step is extremely important. It’s time for accountability.

You remind your subordinates that they were given responsibility along the authority needed to fulfill it. Therefore, they are answerable for everything they did along the way.

Without accountability, none of the subordinates will ever feel the pressure of being in charge. That means they will fail to give their best performance.

Accountability is not something that you do at the end necessarily. It goes on simultaneously from step 1 of the process. However, in the end, you should reinforce the idea.

For the team members who did well, offer appreciation. This will give them reassurance, which serves as a boost of motivation so that they continue to work well.

For the people who messed up, offer guidance. Tell them how they can avoid mistakes in the future. Do not reprimand them. Use this opportunity to teach them what they don’t already know.

Bottom Line

The beauty of delegation can never be denied. It is a remarkable concept with excellent implementation. The process is flawless and takes care of all aspects. But how you take advantage of this brilliant idea is up to you.

You are free to make changes in the process as you like. Do what works best for your team. But never let go of these 4 elements.

These are the 4 steps that can make your delegation more effective. So, put this process to use from today and help your organization perform its best!

More Tips on Delegation

Featured photo credit: Marvin Meyer via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Reference for Business: Delegation
[2] business.com: Develop Your Team Using The 5 Levels of Delegation

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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Are You Addicted to Productivity?

“It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

“Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

“The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

This is my mantra:

I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

Addiction to Productivity is Real

Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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“A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

“It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

“A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

“There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

“For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

  • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
  • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
  • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
  • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
  • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
  • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
  • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

1. Set Limits

Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

2. Create a Not-to-Do List

Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

3. Be Vulnerable

By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

5. Don’t Be a Copycat

Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

6. Say Yes to Less

Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

“In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

“That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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  • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
  • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
  • Establish realistic goals.
  • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
  • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
  • Hold yourself accountable.
  • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
  • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

8. Simplify

Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

9. Learn How to Relax

“Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

“But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

“And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

  • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
  • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
  • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
  • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
  • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
  • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
  • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
  • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
  • Visit a massage therapist.
  • Just breathe.

“Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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Reference

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