Richard Fenton

Article Summary:

The Art and Science of effective delegation.

Effective Delegation

Delegation is an art unto itself. As many a manager will quickly find out, delegation is a must-needed skill to get everything that needs to be done... done. Alas, many managers fall into the trap of not delegating and as a result are left struggling alone with their supervisor wondering how come they seem unable to get organized and get things accomplished! Interestingly, some managers have false beliefs about delegating that hold them back in being able to do it effectively. Some common myths that revolve around delegation include:

Myth: You can't trust your associates.

Myth: When you delegate, you lose control of a task and its outcome.

Myth: You are the only one who can really do the task.

Myth: You can do the work faster by yourself.

Myth: Delegation dilutes your authority.

Myth: Delegation takes too much time.

Myth: Your people are too busy.

Managers need to overcome these false beliefs because when done correctly, delegating is one of the single most effective tools to keep your store (and your sanity) running smoothly! Delegation can become easy if you simply take the time to ask yourself the following questions:

How familiar is this person with the task? If the individual is not very familiar with the task, then decide: Is now a good time to get this person up to speed? If not, perhaps you should wait and either do it yourself or try to delegate to someone with the experience necessary.

Does it make sense to delegate this task? Is this task my personal responsibility? Is there anything confidential that would keep me from turning this task over to someone else? Obviously, you would never delegate performance reviews or counseling an associate!

How will I follow up after delegating? Will I be able to follow up and ensure that this task was finished and done correctly? Once you've worked out the answers to each of these questions in advance and believe you're satisfied that it is appropriate to delegate the task.

Delegating itself should be a quick and painless process that looks and sounds something like this:

1. Explain what you want done.
What exactly needs to be done? When does the task need to be done by? Answer these questions when beginning to delegate a task.

2. Communicate the Importance.
Explain the need for getting this task done. Make sure the associate knows the overall importance of the task. How it fits in with the store and even the company.

3. Set standards.
What does excellence look like? How will you measure or decide that the task was done and done well? You need to explain what you expect to find upon the task completion and make sure the individual understands and agrees to your expectations.
4. Give permission.
Make sure you authorize anything that the person would need to be successful in getting the task done.

5. Provide necessary support.
Make sure that the associate has everything that they need to be successful in completing the task. If it means them leaving the floor for an hour, let them go and arrange floor coverage.

6. Get Buy-In.
Make sure that the individual has agreed to complete the task and that they understand all aspects to it.

Finally, make sure that you follow up with the person to who you've delegated. Thank them and give any necessary feedback. Remember, delegation is not only for you - it's also great development of your staff. You might have several future management candidates in your midst and delegation will help them lean and grow.

Richard Fenton is a speaker, trainer, consultant and author that specializes in the retail industry. Richard's topics includes sales, sales management, leadership and customer service. For more information visit or call (800) 290-5028.

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