CAD Management: Delegation Skills

Oh, how I wish I were better at this than I am...

CAD managers get things done through people. Sometimes they are direct reports and other times they are users who want to help out. CAD managers have to improve their delegation skills. Expanding their effectiveness by delegating tasks will increase their impact.

Having said that – what should your goal be when delegating tasks to others? What are the components of a successful delegation? What will help you and the person to whom you delegate be more successful? Here are some ideas...

Select the right person. This may be the hardest part of the process. Define what is needed to get the job done and select the best person to make it happen. This may be tough or simple depending on the task. Look for someone who fits the task. If it calls for organization skills, find someone who excels in that area. If it calls for creativity, get someone with that trait.

Delegate the whole task to just one person. This gives the person the responsibility and increases his or her motivation. It clarifies authority and focuses responsibility. Make sure the person you've selected knows that he or she is responsible for the task and that you will expect results.

Clearly specify your results you expect. Give information on what you want to achieve. Explain why you want it done and why you selected this person for the task. Define when you want it done and if others need to be involved. You might leave the "how" to the person you've selected. Write this information down.

Delegate responsibility and authority. Don't just give the person you've selected the task. Also give him or her the decision-making power to get it done. If your person has to come back to you for approval on every step, then you have not delegated well.

Let others know who is overseeing the task. Make sure that others know who is in charge of the task and the results. Verify that everyone understands who is doing what and how they should interact with the person you've selected.

Make the person tell you what you want. Have the person reply back to you what he or she understands the task to be. Have the person outline the result and any steps that you have defined. Doing this avoids misunderstandings.

Define the boundaries. If there are some functions or processes that you are not going to let your selected person use in the completion, then define them. This is a list of what is notincluded in the task. This assists the person in knowing the limits of his or her authority and jurisdiction.

Explain when you want progress reports. Depending on the length of the process, you will want reports on progress. It could be weekly for tasks that take multiple weeks. A written status report could be required. Reports should cover what the person did last week, plans to do next week, and any potential issues. If you have regular standing meeting, have these items reported at that time.

Maintain an "open door" policy. Let your selected person come to you. Don't hover, but make sure the person knows that you expect him or her to check in, even if it is just to tell you that things are progressing well.

If things are not going the way you expect, don't overreact. Continue to work with your selected person to seek success. Nothing kills initiative like a boss that does not allow an employee to make progress on his or her own.

Compliment and give thanks. When the task has been completed, make sure that everyone knows that it was the person's efforts that made it a success.

There are many things that make for a successful delegation. The above list is a good start. What it really takes is a valid handoff from one person to another. When done right, it can improve your ability to get things done.

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