Delegation: let’s learn how to distribute assignments

Short guidelines for correct delegation of assignments and rapid development of your own business!


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Just imagine: shop manager John Johnson is simultaneously talking to a client, answering phone calls, filling in documentation, receiving new goods, solving some issues with sanitary and epidemiological control service, and cleaning his office.

Hard to imagine, right?

Of course, every businessman dreams of having such a superhero in his subordination, but no-one can handle so many things at the same time.

And if an unlucky manager, being ignorant or not too smart, begins proving that he is Jack of all trades, nothing good comes out of it.

None of his assignments are done properly.

What will he receive?

John Johnson will be ignominiously fired, but if he knew more about delegation, his life would be much easier.

A good boss of any rank isn’t the one who is trying to do everything by himself, but the one who can wisely distribute obligations among his personnel so that the work could be done on time.

What’s the importance of delegation?

The subordinates of Jacks of all trades begin working half-heartedly and sluggishly.

Why on Earth go an extra mile or step beyond one’s work duties, why show initiative if nobody appreciates it! If your boss doesn’t care how effective your problem-solving skills are, instead – he only cares for your obedience and following your job obligations. Everything else can remain under his competence!

That’s why directors who don’t know what delegation of powers means stick in their offices from morning till night (because they are workaholics) and manage a horribly disorganized staff.

But this is not the only reason why smart distribution of assignments is crucial for subordinates.

It is important to learn the delegation of powers because…

“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.”
John C. Maxwell

  1. The word “director” stems from the word “direct”, i.e. “lead”.
    You must lead without delving into unnecessary details that will distract you from your business. Grabbing a mop to clean the dirty floors before the arrival of an important committee is the cleaner’s duty, not the boss’s.
  2. Only entrusting young workers with important tasks, you can develop them into high-rank professionals, lay solid foundation for your future support and a new generation of leaders (if we speak about a state-owned enterprise).
  3. Thus, you can get rid of “rotten apples” in your company.
    If someone failed several times, what do you need this employee for?
  4. Carrying out all responsibilities on your shoulders you will soon experience a burn-out.
    Human abilities aren’t limitless: living in a constant stress, you’ll destroy your health.

How to delegate your powers?

To make sure your employee fulfils the assignment well and timely, it’s not enough to simply tell him, “Hey, you, do it quickly, the countdown is on!”

Delegation is an art, but if you master it, then your business or the company you lead will certainly achieve success!

Besides, you will become a good leader – not the one getting spits on his back (or even in his coffee 🙂 ).

So, charging someone with an assignment you must:

  1. Be as precise as possible when describing the outcome you need.
  2. Make sure the worker has got you right.
    Thus, ask him some leading questions. If your subordinate is still unsure of what he must do, don’t yell at him, but explain all unclear details one more time (otherwise, next time, being afraid of your temper, he will lie that he knows what to do and then make tons of mistakes).
  3. Determine the deadlines.
    For instance, “This must be done by next Tuesday afternoon” or “Finish it tomorrow by 5 p. m.” etc.
  4. Make it clear for your employee that you, your deputy, or the head of the department are available in case the executor has any difficulties or questions.
    In case it’s not you, but, for instance, your deputy who is the supervisor of the project, let him personally know that he might be addressed by your subordinate instead of telling the latter, “Well, just in case, go to Mr. Smith”. Hm-m… I already picture that Mister being at the rookie’s disposal 24 hours in a row.

What are the common mistakes of delegation?

One of my friends worked at the company managed by Ms. Stella.

Stella loved psychological readings, imagined herself a big pro and tried to follow every word of a smart book.

She attempted to delegate powers to her personnel, but did it clumsily and thus, ineffectively.

Also read: 10 tips, how to write a business plan

Her most widespread mistakes were:

  1. Inability to choose executors.
    When she needed someone to sign birthday cards for clients, she could choose an illiterate worker with handwriting like chicken scratches instead of a performer that could do it nicely and grammatically correct.
  2. Wrong focus setting.
    You tell Kate to make a perfect banner within two hours, and John and Harry get three days for sharpening a dozen of coloured pencils.
    What do you think of Kate’s results? How perfect will her banner be? Will she be able to make anything within such a short period of time?
  3. Verbal diarrhea.
    If you can explain what you want from Anna in two sentences, you mustn’t beat about the bush for a whole hour. Don’t hide the essence behind the pile of a verbal rubbish! You will weary Anna with this flood and, having turned off, she risks missing something important.
  4. Absence of encouragement.
    If Alex prepared a flawless presentation and managed to get and important client, he must be praised for that. If you can’t give him a financial reward, at least show him your appreciation. It would be wrong to start overloading him with new assignments without any preliminary praise.
    But mere gratitude, even wrapped in beautiful words, isn’t enough. Alex must know that tomorrow, if not today, he will get a financial reward for his quality work.

Remember, smart delegation is behind every successful business and organization.

You can be a genius or a tireless worker, but if you can’t delegate powers among your subordinates, sooner or later you will break under the pressure of an unbearable workload.

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