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3. Communicate Task Take time to clearly communicate task. Communicate expectations of task. And most importantly, communicate ownership of task. What I mean is that person assigned to task will be ultimately responsible for success of task. When communicating responsibility for task, let person know consequences of not completing task and rewards of completing task. For example, you might say something like this:
“Mike, this report to justify new computer system is important because if it is not done on time our division will not have tools to meet our customer’s needs. By putting together report by June 15th deadline we will qualify for new computer system which will allow our division to exceed customer service expectations, increase our organization’s bottom line and earn you a bigger bonus and positive exposure for future opportunities. I know you will do what it takes to make this happen.”
Note: If possible, show employee how to do task. Telling and showing person delegated task enhances probability of his/her understanding and being confident with task.
4. Provide Resources, Remove Barriers Now is our opportunity to make sure that person we are delegating task to has resources. Whether it is time, people, or technology, it is our responsibility to find out after understanding task, picking right person, and communicating task to provide resources for success. I have seen time and time again in a variety of organizations where person delegated task has ownership for its success but doesn’t have resources to be successful. Take time to ask following question, “What resources will you need to be successful?”
Also find out what barriers might be in way to successful completion of task and eliminate them. This could be people, organizational restrictions, or lack of knowledge. For example, with people, task you assign might require person assigned task to work with someone who has a “challenging personality.” Knowing this, you could make sure that this person with “challenging personality” understands importance of this task so that he/she does not hinder success of task.
Note: Let person delegated know that you have an open door should he/she have any questions concerning task. Open communication is important for this arrangement to work.
When you provide resources and remove barriers for person delegated task, you are ensuring complete ownership for success of task.
5. Guarantee Understanding Make sure when person leaves meeting, that he/she understands exactly what is expected. The typical interaction between a manager or supervisor and employee is manager asks, “Do you understand everything we discussed?” and employee of course says, “Yes.” Then a week later manager is disappointed with results of task and asks, “What happened?” and employee says, “I didn’t understand what I was supposed to do.” We set that employee up for failure by not taking time to make sure he/she understood what was expected to make this task successful.
By asking question, “Mike, do you understand task at hand?” you receive a closed-ended, or yes or no, answer. It doesn’t give you one ounce of information on whether person understands project.
By asking an open-ended question, “Mike, please share with me your understanding of what is required to make this task successful?” person giving answer is required to give a comprehensive answer detailing his/her thoughts on task at hand. The answer will give you an indication as to whether task is understood or not. Also, at this point, employee may give you in answer a totally different and better way to accomplish task. 6. Encourage Success Let person delegated task know that you have confidence in him/her. Remember, in most cases, this task is new to hi/herm and by communicating that you have confidence that he/she will be successful gives confidence to succeed. You might say something like:
“Mike, I’m glad we had time to go over this task today and you understand what is required to be successful. I am excited and confident that you will make this task your own and put your unique spin on it. I look forward to hearing about your progress on this task and successes along way to its completion. Thank you for undertaking this very important task.”
7. Followup, Reward, Followup, Reward This is where I go back to The Apprentice. Kwame’s follow-up, or lack of appropriate follow-up with Omarosa, could have led to his team’s failing and morale going down. It did lead to Kwame not getting his dream job.
Here are some tips for good follow-up:
* Make sure you know level of follow-up required. One factor is person you are delegating task to and his/her level of knowledge and confidence concerning task. Ask! Some people may want much follow-up, while other may require little follow-up. It also depends on how difficult task is to complete.
* Make sure you have scheduled follow-ups. Before you leave first meeting, make sure you schedule your first follow-up; whether it is one day or week, schedule that first follow-up.
* Reward progress at each follow-up meeting and in public if possible. Show appreciation (Read my article, “Appreciate to Motivate”) in meeting and, if possible, in public so that everyone is motivated to do more.
* Correct to get back on track. In most cases it may be as simple as showing correct way of doing task or brainstorming so that person responsible for task will come up with solution. This will keep person and your team motivated toward end result. Or, in Omarosa’s case, what steps do you need to take to get project back on track? Possibly retrain, reassign, minimize, provide corrective action or ultimate action…terminate person if he/she are knowingly disregarding your organization’s policies and procedures. Believe me, “Omarosas” are rare if you have taken necessary steps along way to pick right person.
Follow steps mentioned and you will be well on way to enjoying a successful career, business, and life and accomplishing far more in less time.
Ed Sykes is a professional speaker, author, and success coach in the areas of leadership, motivation, stress management, customer service, and team building. You can e-mail him at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org, or call him at (757) 427-7032. Go to his web site, http://www.thesykesgrp.com, and signup for the newsletter, OnPoint, and receive the free ebook, "Empowerment and Stress Secrets for the Busy Professional."