Managers are often left feeling frustrated when their staff doesn’t perform a task the way they expect. This can be eliminated by sharpening your communication and filling in the gaps that are often left open for interpretation. Here are some guidelines:
- Step 1: Know what the task is.
- Step 2: Keep in mind the end result or desired outcome you want to produce.
- Step 3: Find the person you need to delegate to and give him or her the task.
- Step 4: Share the results you desire.
- Step 5: Ask and inform the person why it’s important. Rather than simply telling them what to do. Making people feel needed, included, and part of the team helps them do a better job.
- Step 6: What is the advantage for the person to take care of this task? Acknowledge not only the person’s role but how performing it will benefit him or her.
- Step 7: Ask how it’s going to get done. Ask questions such as, “What do you feel is the best way to handle or complete this?” “How have you handled something like this in the past?” The answers to these questions will determine whether the person is comfortable performing the task and whether he or she has the right tools, information, and strategy to complete it. (Caution: While doing this, be careful not to sound condescending, i.e., “So repeat back what I just told you.”)
- Step 8: Determine the exact time frame that you want the task finished in. “When do you feel you can complete this?” This creates ownership in the person’s mind to get it done because he or she is creating the timeline. (If the time the person chooses isn’t appropriate, ask what would have to happen for the task to be completed sooner.)
- Step 9: Reconfirm. This can sound like, “OK great, then you will be able to have X done by Z?” Or, “So I can expect the paperwork on my desk by tomorrow at … ?”
- Step 10: Most importantly, make sure you follow up at the anticipated time the task is to be completed to ensure it is done. Otherwise you run the risk of training the person to not be accountable by sending the message that it’s OK for tasks not to be completed.
Keith Rosen is an executive sales coach, speaker, and best-selling author of many books, including Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions. He was named one of the five most respected and influential executive coaches in the country by Inc. magazine and Fast Company. He can be contacted at 516-771-1444, firstname.lastname@example.org, or his Web site.