If you originally learned how to delegate tasks to employees like I did, in the “old School” style, you walked through your business very rapidly barking out orders as you went along. John do this, Joe do that. If you did it correctly then you took about 3 minutes, managed to make a circle and ended up back at your desk before anyone was able to stop you. At this point you re-immersed yourself in what you were doing and then were amazed to go out an hour later only to find that none of it had been done. I am going to show you a better way. This will increase the amount of tasks that your staff gets done and when done correctly will help you build a better relationship with each individual employee and will increase morale.
What do you need to know before you get started?
1. Be specific about what you want done.
Before you assign a job task, be sure to ask yourself:
- What exactly do I want done?
- What outcome do I need?
- Why does it need to be done?
2. Ensure the Team Member is capable of performing the task
What is the Team Member’s level of competence in performing the task?
- Do they have the skills and experience?
- Have they successfully completed the task before?
- Have they successfully completed a similar task before?
What is the Team Member’s level of commitment for performing the task?
- Do they have the confidence to perform the task?
- Do they seem nervous or uncertain?
- Do they have the motivation to perform the task?
- Do they see any personal benefit to accomplishing the task?
3. Allow sufficient time and set a deadline.
- Evaluate how much time the task should take.
- Consider skill and experience level when establishing time requirements and remember; new learners will need more time.
- What’s the deadline? Without a deadline, the task may never get done.
- Check for understanding. Avoid having the Team Member rush to complete the task at the last minute.
4. Communicate Priorities.
- Employee can establish the priority of this task in relation to their other duties.
- If there’s a rush, they will know if they would drop what they are doing and work this task right away.
- Ensures the Team Member is clear on the efforts that require immediate attention.
5. Check progress or establish checkpoints.
- Checking progress lets you verify the task is being performed as required or requested. If they’re off track, you could have a lot of rework on your hands.
- Gives you an opportunity to provide positive feedback.
- Allows for coaching if the task is being performed incorrectly and avoids rework or waste.
- Reinforces the importance of the task.
- Trust but verify.
6. For goodness sakes, Thank them!
- Don’t forget to recognize a good job.
- Just saying “thank you” is a good start. Try telling them specifically what they did well
That was a lot to digest. Now let’s put it all together.
Key Action Steps
“Hi, Joe. Do you have a minute? I need you to help me with something.”
- Describe the specific task to be done.
“I noticed that the trash cans out in the parking lot were nearly overflowing when I came in. I need you to empty them and replace the liners.”
- Tell why the task needs to be done.
“Our lot is one of the first things that our customers see when they arrive. It’s very important that we present an image of cleanliness and being proactive.”
“As soon as you finish what you are doing now, grab some can liners and get started. This needs to be done before 11:00 this morning. This is your most important task. Does that sound doable?”
- Let the employee know how you will check their progress.
"I’ll check on you around 11:15 to see how you’ve done. If you finish early come and let me know. If you have any problems be sure to check with me or one of the Team Leaders.”
- Thank the Team Member and express confidence in their ability.
“I really appreciate your help on this important duty. I know you can handle it just fine.”
This may sound pretty basic. Which in fact it really is, you always want to make sure that what is spoken is what is heard. This conversation should take less than a minute and when you get good at it should take less than 30 seconds. Practice, then get out there and start doing!