Executives and managers are often left feeling frustrated when their staff doesn't perform a task the way they expected. This can be eliminated by sharpening your communication and filling in the gaps that are often left open for interpretation. Here are some guidelines.
Step 1. Know what the task is.
Step 2. Have the end result/desired outcome you want to produce in mind.
Step 3. Find the person you need to delegate to and give them the task.
Step 4. Share with them the results you desire.
Step 5. Ask and inform them why it's important. Making someone feel needed, included and part of the team helps them do a better job, rather than simply telling them what to do.
Step 6. What is the advantage for them to take care of this task? Acknowledge not only their role but how performing this will benefit them.
Step 7. Ask them how it's going to get done. Ask questions such as, "What do you feel is the best way to handle/complete this?" "How have you handled something like this in the past?" The answers to these questions will determine if they are comfortable performing this task and whether or not they have the right tools/information/strategy needed to complete it. (Caution: while doing this, be careful not to sound condescending. I.e.: "So repeat back what I just told you.")
Step 8. Determine the exact time frame that you want the task finished by. "When do you feel you can complete this?" This creates ownership in the person's mind to get it done, since they are creating the time line themselves. (If the time they choose isn't appropriate, ask what would have to happen for it to be completed sooner.)
Step 9. Reconfirm: That can sound like, "Okay great, then you will be able to have ______done by........ ?" Or "So, I can expect the paperwork on my desk by tomorrow at....?"
Step 10. Most importantly, make sure you follow up at that anticipated time the task was to be completed to ensure it was done. Otherwise, you run the risk of training the person not to be accountable by sending the message that it's okay for tasks not to be completed.
Keith Rosen is the CEO of Profit Builders. He has taken his years of management, business ownership and coaching experience into the business community where he provides personalized one-on-one and group coaching and corporate training to improve, build and manage your career and your life for optimum success and enjoyment. Keith has been the keynote speaker and executive coach for organizations such as GE, MCI WorldCom and the American Marketing Association. Being a pioneer in the coaching profession, Keith is one of the first to hold the designation of Master Certified Coach and is also a widely published columnist.