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Assigning chores and delegating as a manager

Assigning chores and delegating as a manager

As our children grew, we gave them chores that were appropriate for their age and capabilities. As toddlers, they could put clothes in the hamper and their toys in the toy box or closet. As the years passed, they could take on dish duty, mowing the lawn, laundry and so on. The big projects, such a painting the house, was a full court press for everyone.

It was difficult at first as the quality of the work or the methodology was not the same as we would have done it. For example, shirts were folded inside out. But they were folded! We had to remind ourselves that it was a good job for a beginner and it would improve with practice.

Now let’s fast forward to being a manager and delegating tasks to a team member. It can be difficult to trust that the job will be done timely and at the level of quality you desire. Some managers get stuck here and want to either manage every tiny task or won’t give up anything at all. That prevents them from grooming the staff and also ties them up from working on something that may be of higher value to the organization.

This article is a year old but has a good list of “How to Delegate” from 'Startup Pro' Martin Zwilling on Forbes. It goes through a list of how to be a more effective manager, specifically around delegating responsibilities to others in your organization. There were three of the list that are worth highlighting.

Trust those to whom you delegate: You have to give the person a chance to do the task and to do it their way. Of course the finished product has to be of good quality, but there are many ways to get to the end game. A simple chore such as filling the dishwasher at home can be done in many different ways. However, if the dishes come out clean, the placement of the dirty dishes does not matter.

Give clear assignments and instructions: Make sure the team knows what is expected and how to do it. For new associates, this may require more detail and time than you can afford. More than likely you could do it faster yourself. However, in the long term the time is well invested to free yourself up for other responsibilities.

Give public and written credit: Why is it so difficult for us to thank and acknowledge some else’s hard work and accomplishments? Everyone likes to be acknowledged and recognized for their efforts and the subsequent results.

How have you found delegating tasks? Do you have a difficult time letting go? How about getting assignments from your manager? Are the instructions clear?


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