How to delegate work (effectively)? 📥
Background — Why am I answering this question?
Yesterday, I attended a webinar by Peter Akkies, a productivity consultant who I have been following for a few months now on various platforms. It was super nice and he even answered some of my questions. He published a blog post today — Flipping the script: you teach me! — asking a question to readers:
What’s the no. 1 thing you learned about outsourcing or delegating effectively?
And here are my two cents.
1. Choose the right candidate
Measure twice, cut once. — Russian Proverb
If you have the benefit of choice in this matter, invest time in evaluating various candidates who are suitable and interested.
- Identify a reasonably good candidate for the role within your means (with resources available to you)
- Use the Pareto principle — look for proficiency in that 20% of their role which generates 80% of the benefit or impact for you
- For the rest, be open to them learning on the job or improving with time.
- This will be important when we discuss consideration for work later on.
2. Communicate expectations clearly
A stitch in time saves nine. — English Proverb
The chosen candidate should be clearly aware of their deliverables and timelines.
- Ensure to communicate negotiable and non-negotiable aspects of outcomes and conditions for escalation to you
- Expectations may evolve with time, remember to catch up with them periodically to get back on the same page
- Effective Communication requires effort, but it is well worth it
3. Take responsibility for outcomes
Responsibility is the price of greatness. — Winston Churchill
If you are the principal who assigns work to an agent, remember to also work towards achieving a balance in accepting responsibility for work outcomes.
- A professional agent takes responsibility for outcomes and works towards delivering them. Hold them accountable to what you have agreed with them.
- All the same, you also have a role in the process, which is to build a framework of checks and balances for their work along with periodic review and feedback.
Don’t over-do either of the above. When we delegate work, we are generally aware of the former part of the equation and yet we may overlook the latter.
4. Coach associates, impart skills
The one who teaches is the giver of eyes. — Tamil Proverb
Investing time in coaching people can be an enriching experience
- Coaching those to whom you delegate work pays you handsome dividends
- It will also establish a rapport, mutual trust and loyalty
Furthermore, provide them the space to learn and grow; and to make mistakes. This encourages them to think for themselves and be more productive with time.
5. Pay fair consideration for work
Fairness is man’s ability to rise above his prejudices. — Wes Fesler
Find the appropriate candidate within your means without crossing these two lines
- Be fair in what you deem as the appropriate consideration for the delegated or outsourced work
- Be competitive by staying informed about the going rate for comparable services
If you require it, upgrade to better services later when you have yourself grown and have greater allocable resources. This could either be more people or more qualified associates.
Read more structure your role at work