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Effective Delegation

 

Effective Delegation:  Practical Applications in the Workplace

Managers have so much to do nowadays!  They must assure quality, meet goals and objectives, plan, budget and execute.  While they’re doing all of this, they must also hire, train, motivate, direct and evaluate employees.  When the topic of delegation comes up, many managers “don’t have the time”, “can do it faster and better themselves”, or “can’t make it happen fast enough with the employees they have”.  True…delegation takes time, planning, patience, focus and energy, but if done well, the return on investment is incredible!

Some compelling reasons to delegate are:

  • Maximize/leverage resources
  • Create developments opportunities
  • Motivate employees
  • Utilize skills that the manager lacks
  • Improve leadership skills

As you can see, delegation is more than just another task in the life of a manager!

How do you delegate?  Here’s the steps adapted from Chris Roebach’s book Effective Delegation:

1.  Define and analyze the task

2.  Select the individual

3  Assess employees’ ability and training needs

4.  Explain why

5.  Identify resources.

6.  Set objectives

7.  Monitor progress

8.  Review the results

Effective Delegation also suggests that there are four levels of delegation:

1.  Control – The “control” level restricts the employee considerably.  The manager retains control of the assignment.  In the control level the manager:

  • Gives specific instructions
  • Supervises closely
  • Restricts employee’s freedom.

2.  Coach -In coaching, the manger is less engaged – the employee has more freedom.  When in the coaching level, the manager:

  • Supervises closely, but less directive
  • Explains the job by step but offers advice and support
  • Allows the employee more responsibility and input

3.   Consult -When “consulting” there is a shift in responsibility and power:

  • Allows the employee more freedom of action
  • Gives general instruction and invites ideas
  • Decides jointly with employee on choice of action
  • The manager is available for help.

4.   Collaborate – At this level, the tables have turned.  As Covey describes:  “the employee is the boss and the       manager supports” .  The manager:

  • Gives only overall direction
  • Leaves specifics to the delegee
  • Defines the level of freedom before the necessity to report
  • Advises and supports only in rare situations.

There are other considerations before deciding what, when and whom to delegate to, such as available time, stress conditions, urgency, employee motivation, employees commitment  and is the situation an opportunity for learning.

By utilizing delegation, a manager is leveraging productivity, developing employees and instilling camaraderie with employees.  It takes a commitment of time, energy and attention, but the long term results are invaluable.  Practicing delegation will enhance management skills and develop leadership skills.

Read my full white paper here.

Compensating Teams

Nearly everyone can relate to working on a team.  Teams are a great way to bring a group of talented folks together to focus on and accomplish a task.  They are also a means of providing development opportunities to employees, by utilizing skills in different venues, learning new skills from other team members and by taking on a responsibility beyond the purview of the everyday job.  But what’s the best way to compensate teams?

As you may have anticipated, there is no one best answer.  Compensation philosophy, strategy and design are the same as for individual compensation, for instance determining what behavior or results you want to incent/reward, assuring that the reward is meaningful, that the allocations are equitable and that it falls within budget.  However, there are several important practices to consider with respect to teams.  First of all, it is advisable to be transparent with pay.  Every team member should know what the plan is, the potential reward, the actual reward and how the reward will be distributed amongst the group at the outset of the team’s work together. The team should understand goals and expectations, and how the reward will be determined based on performance, particularly if the reward will be cash or a non-cash item of high value.  For self directed teams, the team’s determination of award allocation may be best, along with a peer review or the use of a 180 or 270 degree feedback device, where feedback is gathered from peers and others who deal directly with the team. It is also important that the team be mutually accountable for results.

In his book, Compensation for Teams, Steven Gross identifies three types of teams:

  • The Parallel Team – this team comes together periodically while each members also has a full time job (e.g. Safety Committee);
  • The Process Team – this team is a full-time, dedicated team, generally created for improvement in quality and/or customer service, the members often being cross-trained;
  • The Project Team – this team is a full-time team brought together for the duration of a project.

Here are some concrete suggestions based on his research that the author suggests for team performance recognition:

  • The Parallel Team:
    • Non-cash rewards are more popular
    • Any differentiation amongst members must be defensible
    • Allocation should be fully accepted by the team
    • Cash for successful results, non-cash award for mixed results and a memo commending hard work for failed results
    • Recognition occurs after the fact
    • Merit increases in base pay should be based on both regular job and team performance
  • The Process Team:
    • Incentive compensation is popular, due to incremental improvement
    • Incentive compensation is less likely to create disharmony
    • Non-cash awards are seen as helping bring the team together
    • Incentive compensation should be of equal amounts
    • Recognition occurs before the fact
    • Incremental merit increases emphasize continuous improvement
    • General wage increases should reflect new skills and competencies
  • The Project Team:
    • Non-cash awards and spot cash awards are most popular
    • Sizable cash awards are appropriate
    • Non-cash award for meeting expectations; cash for exceeding expectations
    • Allocation should be equal percent of base pay and/or individual contribution
    • Recognition occurs before and/or after the fact
    • Merit increases granted upon demonstration of required skills and competencies

A whole different viewpoint as to what motivates teams and what rewards they desire are depicted in this video clip:

The clip contends that workers should be paid enough to take money motivators off the table and what truly motivates is autonomy, mastery and purpose.

These two viewpoints are both  food for thought when it comes to designing your team compensation plan. What should we favor: money or meaning, when it comes to rewarding teams?


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Cathy S. Taylor, SPHR