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Published on June 16, 2020

4 Critical Steps in the Process of Delegation

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

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 September 28, 2020

How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

There’s no denying that goals are necessary. After all, they give life meaning and purpose. However, goals don’t simply achieve themselves—you need to write an action plan to help you reach your goals.

With an action plan, you’ll have a clear idea of how to get where you want to go, what it will take to get there, and how you’ll find the motivation to keep driving forward. Without creating a plan, things have a way of not working out as you waver and get distracted.

With that in mind, here’s how you can set goals and action plans that will help you achieve any personal goal you’ve set.

1. Determine Your “Why”

Here’s a quick experiment for you to try right now: Reflect on the goals you’ve set before. Now, think about the goals you reached and those you didn’t. Hopefully, you’ll notice a common theme here.

The goals you were successful in achieving had a purpose. Those goals you failed to accomplish did not. In other words, you knew why you put these goals in place, which motivated you to follow through.

Simon Sinek, author of Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Finding Purpose for You and Your Team, explains:

“Once you understand your WHY, you’ll be able to clearly articulate what makes you feel fulfilled and to better understand what drives your behavior when you’re at your natural best. When you can do that, you’ll have a point of reference for everything you do going forward.”

That, in turn, enables better decision-making and clearer choices.

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I’ll share with you a recent example of this in my life. Earlier this year, I decided to make my health a bigger priority, specifically losing weight. I set this goal because it gave me more energy at work, improved my sleep, and helped me be a better father—I really didn’t care for all that wheezing every time I played with my kids.

Those factors all gave me a long-term purpose, not a superficial short-term goal like wanting to look good for an event.

Before you start creating an action plan, think about why you’re setting a new goal. Doing so will guide you forward on this journey and give you a North Star to point to when things get hard (and they inevitably will).

2. Write Down Your Goal

If you really want to know how to create an action plan for goals, it’s time to get your goals out of your head and onto a piece of paper. While you can also do this electronically through an app, research has found that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goal if it’s written down[1].

This is especially true for business owners. If they don’t schedule their time, it’ll be scheduled for them.[2]

When you physically write down a goal, you’re accessing the left side of the brain, which is the literal, logical side. As a result, this communicates to your brain that this is something you seriously want to do.

3. Set a SMART Goal

A SMART goal pulls on a popular system in business management[3]. That’s because it ensures the goal you’ve set is both realistic and achievable. It can also be used as a reference to guide you through your action plan.

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Use SMART goals to create a goal action plan.

     

    By establishing a SMART goal, you can begin to brainstorm the steps, tasks, and tools you’ll need to make your actions effective.

    • Specific: You need to have specific ideas about what you want to accomplish. To get started, answer the “W” questions: who, what, where, when, and why.
    • Measurable: To make sure you’re meeting the goal, establish tangible metrics to measure your progress. Identify how you’ll collect the data.
    • Attainable: Think about the tools or skills needed to reach your goal. If you don’t possess them, figure out how you can attain them.
    • Relevant: Why does the goal matter to you? Does it align with other goals? These types of questions can help you determine the goal’s true objective — and whether it’s worth pursuing.
    • Time-bound: Whether it’s a daily, weekly, or monthly target, deadlines can motivate us to take action sooner than later.

    Learn more about setting a SMRT goal here: How to Set SMART Goal to Make Lasting Changes in Life

    4. Take One Step at a Time

    Have you ever taken a road trip? You most likely had to use a map to navigate from Point A to Point B. The same idea can be applied to an action plan.

    Like a map, your action plan needs to include step-by-step instructions on how you’ll reach your goal. In other words, these are mini goals that help you get where you need to go.

    For example, if you wanted to lose weight, you’d consider smaller factors like calories consumed and burned, minutes exercised, number of steps walked, and quality of sleep. Each plays a role in weight loss.

    This may seem like a lot of work upfront, but it makes your action plan seem less overwhelming and more manageable. Most importantly, it helps you determine the specific actions you need to take at each stage.

    5. Order Your Tasks by Priority

    With your action steps figured out, you’ll next want to review your list and place your tasks in the order that makes the most sense. This way, you’re kicking things off with the most important step to make the biggest impact, which will ultimately save time.

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    For example, if you have a sedentary job and want to lose weight, the first step should be becoming even a little more active. From there, you can add more time to your workout plan.

    The next step could be changing your diet, like having a salad before dinner to avoid overeating, or replacing soda with sparkling water.

    Learn these tips to prioritize better: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    6. Schedule Your Tasks

    Setting a deadline for your goal is a must; it prevents you from delaying the start of your action plan. The key, however, is to be realistic. It’s highly unlikely, for example, that you’ll lose 20 pounds within two weeks. It’s even less likely that you’ll keep it off.

    What’s more, you should also assign tasks a start and end date for each action step you’ve created, as well as a timeline for when you’ll complete specific tasks. Adding them to your schedule ensures that you stay focused on these tasks when they need to happen, not letting anything else distract you.

    For example, if you schedule gym time, you won’t plan anything else during that time frame.

    Beware the temptation to double-book yourself—some activities truly can be combined, like a run while talking to a friend, but some can’t. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you can both write and catch up on Netflix simultaneously.

    While you can use a paper calendar or planner, an online calendar may be a better option. You can use it to set deadlines or reminders for when each step needs to be taken, and it can be shared with other people who need to be in the know (like your running buddy or your mentor).

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    7. Stay on Track With Healthy Habits

    Without healthy habits, it’s going to be even more challenging to reach your goal. You could hit the gym five days a week, but if you’re grabbing burgers for lunch every day, you’re undoing all your hard work.

    Let’s say your goal is more career-oriented, like becoming a better public speaker. If you practice your speeches at Toastmasters meetings but avoid situations where you’ll need to be unrehearsed—like networking gatherings or community meetings—you’re not helping yourself.

    You have to think about what will help transform you into the person you want to be, not just what’s easiest or most comfortable.

    8. Check off Items as You Go

    You may think you’ve spent a lot of time creating lists. Not only do they help make your goals a reality, but lists also keep your action plan organized, create urgency, and help track your progress. Because lists provide structure, they reduce anxiety.

    There’s something else special about lists of tasks completed. When you cross off a task in your action plan, your brain releases dopamine[4]. This reward makes you feel good, and you’ll want to repeat this feeling.

    If you crossed out on your calendar the days you went to the gym, you’d want to keep experiencing the satisfaction of each bold “X.” That means more motivation to go the gym consistently.

    9. Review and Reset as Necessary

    Achieving any personal goal is a process. Although it would be great if you could reach a goal overnight, it takes time. Along the way, you may experience setbacks. Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, schedule frequent reviews—daily, weekly, or monthly—to see how you’re progressing.

    If you aren’t where you’d hoped to be, you may need to alter your action plan. Rework it so you’re able to reach the goal you’ve set.

    The Bottom Line

    When you want to learn how to set goals and action plans—whether you want to lose weight, learn a new skill, or make more money—you need to create a realistic plan to get you there. It will guide you in establishing realistic steps and time frames to achieve your goal. Best of all, it will keep you on track when you stumble, and we all do.

    More on Goal Action Plans

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

    Reference

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