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Delegating tasks: 5 steps to stay on TRACK

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in Centerpiece,Leaders & Managers,People Management

As part of a recent group leadership program I was hosting, we did 360-degree assessments of colleagues on a range of leadership behaviors.

Like most groups of high-potential leaders I’ve coached over the past five years, the group had a lot of oppor­tunities to make a bigger impact by delegating more effectively to the people on their teams.

The kinds of delegation behaviors that regularly show up in the Next Level 360 survey as opportunities for leaders include:

  • Regularly take time to step back and define or redefine what needs to be done.
  • Spend less time using his/her functional skills and more time encouraging team members to use theirs.
  • Make clear to the team the best ways to involve him or her in the process of achieving the desired result.
  • Get involved in determining solutions only when there is a clear and significant value in doing so.
  • Set up and use systems to monitor results and the progress toward them.

With the increasing volume of work that everyone expects to get done, more of my clients are asking for help on improving their delegation skills. Based on the best practices of leaders who are really excellent at delegation, I’ve come up with a five-step approach called TRACK.

Here’s how it works:

Task: Get really clear and specific in your own mind about the task you’re delegating and why it matters.

Request: Make a clear request of the person you’re delegating the task to. Be sure to cover the what, when, why, who and in-bounds and out-of-bounds param­eters for accomplishing the task.

Achieve: As part of the delegation conversation, paint a picture of what success looks like when the task is achieved. 

Check-ins: Set up a process for checking in with each other over the course of completing the task. Most check-ins will be scheduled on a recurring basis. Be clear about the conditions for when the person you’re delegating to should initiate a check-in that’s not in the schedule.

Kudos and Knowledge: When the task is complete, offer kudos for a job well done. Point out specific things that were done well and should be repeated in the future. Ask what was learned that could lead to an even better outcome next time.

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