Communication Is Key
After selecting the right manager to do the work, set expectations. For example, what’s the expected level of quality or quantity? What’s expected regarding the completion time for the project to be considered successful? Discuss how you’ll monitor the new process or task. It’s important to be available for questions and guidance.
Another way to ensure success is to make sure the manager has the appropriate tools, information and resources. Is they available, or how does the manager find them? When possible, walk through a few examples. If you’d like your manager to go into the neighborhood and meet with business owners, do a thorough walk-through a couple days in advance. Make sure the person has the information he needs, and practice the content and flow of the material to be presented. Having a dry run of the presentation can prevent a lot of problems and provides a great coaching opportunity. Keep the lines of communication open so any glitches can be detected early.
Depending on the scope of the project or task being delegated, it can be a good idea to do a post-task debriefing with the manager to whom you delegated the task. Good questions to ask are:
- What went well in the process?
- What could have been done differently?
- What can we do in the future to improve the process?
Ask the manager to describe all the things that went well first. Most people have a tendency to gloss over this and start on what didn’t work, so take the time to acknowledge and give praise for work well done. Even in the most disappointing of circumstances, finding the good points and discussing them first will help the person’s morale.
When discussing things that could have been done differently, again, ask the person for his input before providing your own. This will provide additional coaching opportunities, particularly if the manager is overly self-critical or if he tends to blame others for his mistakes.
Finally, if the manager will be doing similar tasks or projects in the future, make a list of ways to improve the process. Are there additional resources needed? Are all the materials or information available to make it smoother next time? Is more advance time needed? The debriefing process will help build skills for everyone involved as well as build relationships if done well.
Empowerment, Not Abdication
Effective delegation empowers people. It empowers the employee to take on more responsibility and empowers the manager to a higher level of management finesse. Unfortunately, some self-storage owners walk away after delegating and, for the other person, it’s sink or swim. Abdication of responsibility is a quick ticket to failure: D’Oh! The more you coach and train others, the easier it is to delegate, and it will lead to everyone’s success.
Marty Stanley is a national speaker, trainer, executive coach and facilitator for planning and teambuilding sessions. To reach him, call 816.822.4047; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; visit www.alteringoutcomes.com.