Stop talking and listen. The key to achieving effective delegation of work is to foster bi-directional communication where clarity can be established and details defined.
“I know you heard what I said but you didn’t understand what I meant”
This happens all the time. As the leader it is your responsibility to take measures to ensure the success of your employees. Where many leaders fall short is delegating responsibilities and not providing for the opportunity for the employee to fully understand and validate the assignment. Waiting to the deadline to find out the assignment wasn’t understood and will not be completed to desired expectations is courting failure -yours not theirs.
Message verification is critical.
I use a 3 question approach.
1) Do you and your employee understand what the successful outcome looks like? Have them tell you what they have heard. Are they comfortable with the assignment? Right here you can validate employee understanding of the desired outcome and set them up for success.
2) Can your employee or team identify their strategy, tactics or actions to achieve the desired outcome? It’s key that they can articulate their approach indicating both ownership and competency. This is an excellent question to disclose potential issues, as well as an opportunity to mentor, offer supportive suggestions to increase the likelihood of success.
3) Any issues, obstacles, concerns or assistance required is identified. This signals to your employee that you are not delegating and departing but will remain an active resource. Many initiatives will encounter unforeseen obstacles and as leaders your ongoing support and mentorship is invaluable.
Collectively these questions increase the likelihood of getting an on time and successful outcome. Additionally, I recommend scheduled progress reviews to ensure the employees success is on track. Good leaders empower, equip and support. This does not mean micromanagement so be sure to support and not direct.