When the time is right to assign a task or responsibility to the carefully chosen person, use the following steps as a check list. Covering each of these (5 S’s) gives the person receiving the assignment the best possible chance for success.
1. Seek the person’s Buy-In.
At first, the person receiving the assignment may not see all of the benefits of having something added to his/her workload. Before speaking with the person about the assignment, consider what he/she values. What outcomes would this person deem worthwhile? Then, when presenting the assignment, take the time to discuss the upside to successful completion of the task from the other person’s perspective. Cover the impact on financial rewards, future opportunities, recognition, and other desirable outcomes that would motivate the individual to willingly take on the challenge.
2. Set clear expectations.
Include specific parameters around performance standards, a detailed explanation of the desired results, the scope of the individual’s authority, available resources, communication strategies, and schedules. As much as possible, capture this information in writing.
3. Stay open minded.
Unless the particular steps to completing a task or carrying out a given responsibility are truly “written in stone” or must comply with a particular mandate, maintain the flexibility to consider different methods. Be willing to entertain the possibility that the other person may devise a better way to get the task done. Whenever possible, focus on the end-result and leave the means (the how to get there) up to the individual. The more input a person has in the task/responsibility, the higher their level of personal ownership; which will in turn enhance their attention to detail and the quality of their output.
4. Speak (maintain communication).
Talk about what needs to be done and the specific output you expect. Proper communication prevents misunderstandings and helps the other person to fulfill his/her potential.
5. Success .. (explain/train/coach).
Make sure the person knows what works. Alert the individual to potential pitfalls as well as methods that have had less success in the past.
Well “executed delegation” is a morale booster, a tremendous force for productivity gains, and a significant development tool.