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Delegate in three steps

Let ‘the 3 A’s’ guide your assignments

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

You know that you should delegate more, but you figure it’s faster and easier to do it yourself. Instructing others takes time, preparation and patience.

But smart managers delegate. In fact, the best delegators follow a three-step process to ensure that their directions sink in.

Step 1: Awareness. Before employees can act intelligently, they must understand the nature and importance of what needs to get done. Introduce key facts about work flow and goals so that everyone’s on the same page.

Use phrases such as, “First off, I want you to be aware of what we’re trying to accomplish,” or, “To raise our public profile, we need you to help us with three campaigns.” Provide context before describing the task you’re delegating.

Step 2: Acceptance. Dumping an assignment on an employee will stir resentment. No one likes to be bossed around. It’s better to get workers to accept responsibility. After raising their awareness, ask them if they’re ready to plunge in.

An administrative manager tells us that she delegates with a light touch. Borrowing from those old “Mission: Impossible” TV shows, she says, “Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is …” This gives employees a chance to confirm their acceptance and acknowledge their accountability.

Step 3: Action. Now comes the collaborative stage where you hash out a plan so that you’re both confident the job will go well. This involves reaching agreement on how the task will get done.

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