The Time Trap by Alec Mackenzie has gained a cult following among executives eager to wring more value from every working hour. And with good reason. Consider Mackenzie’s guidelines for delegating.
Ask “Could someone else do this?” whenever a new task arrives. If the answer is yes, follow the rest of the steps described below.
Choose the right person. “Don’t automatically reject a person with minimal experience,” Mackenzie cautions. “You’ll be robbing him or her of valuable experience.”
State instructions clearly. Fully discuss what constitutes a good job. Then ask the person to summarize what you said to be sure that both of you share a mutual understanding.
Give commensurate authority. “Make sure the person has the authority to obtain whatever is needed to do the job: financial resources, clerical assistance, equipment,” Mackenzie writes.
Follow up. Issue regular progress reports to “ensure that if anything goes off track, you will know in time to make corrections.”
Support and coach as needed. Make sure to remain available to answer questions and provide direction.
Resist upward “reverse” delegation. Don’t do your staff’s work. “Each decision should be made at the lowest possible level,” Mackenzie writes. That’s the key to developing individuals and the organization at the same time, according to Mackenzie.
—Adapted from The Time Trap, Alec Mackenzie, AMACOM.
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