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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

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

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Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

    More Productivity Tips

    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

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