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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

4 Critical Steps in the Process of Delegation

4 Critical Steps in the Process of Delegation
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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

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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