Feedback and Rewards

Respect: The Key To Delegation

Jim Estill asked:

Delegation is based on respect. You need to respect the person to whom you delegate. They, in turn, will not want to do the tasks, unless they respect you.

The best way to delegate is in person. Giving someone a task face-to-face is ideal because you can get a sense of the person you are dealing with. You can tell if someone is happy to do a task for you, or if they are actually resentful. Establishing the bounds of your delegating relationship is important.

When you ask someone to do a job in person, it is best to do it two ways: orally, and in writing. This way you both know what has been said and the expectations are clear from the outset. Make sure that you both know the what, when, why, and how of the situation.

One reason to avoid asking people in email or on the phone is that it feels impersonal. You are asking a favour, and it behooves you to be polite and take the other person’s reaction into account. You will be unable to gauge their reaction if you are not in person.

If you must delegate over the phone or via email, however, be sure that you do it politely. Get feedback from the person to whom you are delegating.

Politeness is a must for all areas of delegation, regardless of the medium of communication. Always ask someone to do something, never demand. Often, the input that you receive from someone who you have asked to do the task is very helpful. Remember, you asked them to do the task for a reason: they are able to do it easier, better, or faster than you can. So be aware of their opinion and the suggestions that they have to offer.

Remember, we all have strengths and weaknesses. Try to coach people on their weaknesses, and respect them for their strengths. Ask them to accomplish tasks that accentuate their strengths. This is a question of properly using human resources. Don’t give the task to Bob when Sue will get it done faster, better, and easier.

Sometimes delegation is a long-term investment. If you take the time to train someone properly now, it will save both of you time and hassle in the long-run.

Attitude is everything! Respect makes delegation a useful tool for you, and makes it less of a chore for others.

It is important when delegating to give effective feedback.

One of the most important elements of feedback is saying Thank You. This is not only common courtesy but common sense. If the people that you trust to complete your projects feel underappreciated, they will no longer want to do the task that you assign to them. Even if they do continue to do the work, they will be resentful or apathetic towards it, and as such, will not do a good job. So remembering to say a quick “Thanks!” is not only polite, but also important.


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