Global Digital Tips

Delegation: assigning tasks the right way

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Today’s global digital tip is about delegation.

When I googled “how to delegate” or “tips for delegating tasks”, one of the top results I found was Michael Hyatt’s article about delegation, and I found and listened to his excellent podcast on the subject. If you don’t have time to listen, here are some of the tips he provides.

Successful Delegation Mandatories

Imperative #1: Admit that working non-stop is unsustainable
Imperative #2: Understand your unique calling
Imperative #3: Select qualified leaders to assist you
Imperative #4: Give these leaders responsibility and authority
Imperative #5: Only do those things which others cannot do

These are basic ideas, but I wonder if you have taken the time to really think about each and explore what each entails and how you can achieve this type of thinking.

#1 – Work during work time and rest during rest time. Determine what your sustainable work hours are and do them. FULL-STOP. If you have too much work and not enough time, the truth is you have poor delegation skills or are unable to say “no”. So first you need to fix these two problems before you can achieve a sustainable working life.

#2 – Have you actually asked yourself what is your unique calling? Think about the statement below and decide what only you can do. List your unique abilities and list everything that needs to be done. Perhaps structure it in two columns: ONLY ME and ANYONE. That ANYONE list is going to be what you delegate—all of it!

“Never do anything of importance that others can do or will do when there is so much of importance to do that others cannot do or will not do.” Dawson Trotman, Founder, The Navigators

#3 – Hire a professional employment agency or recruiter to find the right people for your needs. Stay out of the recruitment and interview process until the agency has narrowed down the candidates for you and pre-interviewed them. Step in at the final stages to interview the shortlisted candidates.

#4 – This is all about delegation. Hyatt expounds what this “responsibility and authority” entails. He describes 5 levels of delegation that managers should use in their office—and I have to say I love them!

Hyatt’s 5 Levels of Delegation

Level 1: Do exactly what I have asked you to do
Level 2: Research the topic and report back
Level 3: Research the topic, outline the options and make a recommendation
Level 4: Make a decision and then tell me what you did
Level 5: Make whatever decision you think is best

What I have noticed when visiting many client workplaces is that managers very often give Level 3, 4 and 5 instructions to staff that should be given Level 1 or 2 instructions.

Hyatt doesn’t go into detail about how to determine which staff are right for each task, however common sense would tell any manager to test their staff.

If you give a staff member a Level 1 instruction and they do exactly what you have asked, on time and without dispute, they may have proved themselves able to move onto a Level 2 instruction.

If however, you are continually giving your staff Level 4 instructions and they continue to make decisions you do not agree with or they do not tell you what they did, you need to determine if you are delegating the right tasks to the right person or delegating correctly. Re-doing tasks your staff completed is poor management and poor delegation and is both micro-managing and unsustainable.

The other levels speak for themselves, but in my experience, I’ve rarely seen managers apply Level 1 to Level 3 delegation to their team. Today being affable and likeable as a manager is drummed into more managers minds than being a “manager”. If your staff do not want to be managed, then they either need to run their own business or work for a company with an “easy” management ethos—but, don’t let that company be yours.

#5 – When your delegation process works beautifully, by following the 5 levels above, this imperative: only do those things which others cannot do, will naturally occur. The beauty in your management will be either discovered for the first time or rediscovered.

Michael Hyatt’s 5 levels of delegation (under imperative #4) are mandatory for successful delegation and management. I recommend applying these levels in your office, and informing and educating your staff of the new process you are going to follow for delegation.

If you have problems managing tasks, delegating, “letting go”, micro-managing or with perfectionism, then this is the course you should try.

Once you have educated your team on these new levels, you can run your office like a high-level CIA operation informing your staff, “this is a Level X instruction, any questions?” And you will begin to see your staff fulfil your requirements, rise to higher levels of authority and ability and most importantly your work will be sustainable, manageable and fruitful.

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