This last week I taught a management skills class to a group of first time managers. One of their biggest questions was how to delegate effectively.  Many of their questions centered around two specific  areas. First: how do I select the right person?  And Second:  how do I delegate effectively?  When I asked about their experience about being delegated to- many thought their manger did not do a good job. Many felt their managers micro-managed them. So lets dive into delegation and offer some help.

Selection of the right person is very important. Selection starts with knowing what specifically needs to be delegated.  And what do you, the manager, want the end deliverable or product to look like? What is the quality level?  Do you want charts, a power point slide deck, a written report? What are the specific outcomes you are looking for as well? You must know the details in order to delegate effectively. If you do know what what the specific outcome should look like do not expect your employee to figure it out.

Once you know the details it is time to choose the right person. Who has the demonstrated skill set,  competence or good specific transferable skills. Second, who demonstrates commitment to do the project? Both elements must be present before you delegate the project (competence and commitment).

One typical pitfall for mangers is to delegate to a star employee … assuming he/ she will be able to do the project. Just because a person is a superstar in one area does not mean they will be a superstar in another. For example, just because you can drive a car does not mean that you can drive a big 18 wheeler truck. Just because you can drive a  jet ski… does not mean you have the skills necessary to steer a sailboat.

In the next post I address one of the key tools for managers to help them assure success after they have delegated the project.