Friday, December 9, 2011

Risk and Delegation - 7 of 7


Yes, there is risk…of failure, of conflicts, of missed deadlines, of mis-matched delegates.  You must be aware of the risk involved and take steps to minimize the exposure.  Make your delegation decisions based on probability and facts, not assumptions.  Know what is to be expected in advance of assigning a staff member to the project.  Remember this: the best prediction of future success is past performance.  What the prospective delegate has accomplished in the past sets expectations for what you can expect.  Anticipate problem areas and conflicts.  Your experience will provide insight.  Setup contingency plans to deal with the conflicts and shortages that do occur, to help minimize the risk.  Remove or reassign employees that make serious mistakes or who have inappropriate attitudes. 
There is no reward without some risk, but you must insure that the risk is minimal.  It’s your neck stretched the farthest.

Once a task is assigned, you must be willing to back away and allow the delegate to do their job.  Micro-management does nothing but frustrate people, causing them to feel inadequate and inferior.  If you don’t feel like the employee has the ability or qualifications to accomplish the task, then don’t give it to them to begin with.
Take care not to involve yourself in the completion of the task unless the situation becomes critical in some way, such as deadlines or mission critical operations.  Allow the delegate to have enough room to do his or her job. 
Encourage problem solving and solutions; avoid becoming the ‘fixer’.  Empower them to get the assignment finished.  What good does it do to delegate a job, then stay so involved that your time is sacrificed anyway?
Keep meetings to a minimum, only enough for concept and accountability.  Express confidence in them and their capabilities, encourage innovation, reward excellence.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Facebook safe? NOT!

Be aware, be very aware...Facebook is not a secure form of communication.  You can help by setting your security selections in your profile, but hackers have shown to be effective in getting through.  Don't be another Anthony Weiner...   Never put any information in your FB profile that you don't want Muammar Gadhafi, or some perv down the street to read.

You also want to be very careful about joining causes, or playing the app games on Facebook.  When you click, a dialogue box comes up, and read the print...if you click 'yes', you authorize them access to your profile, pics, movies, and your friends' too.  Here's what comes up first, check this out:  
We can't display this content while you're viewing Facebook over a secure connection (https).
Would you like to temporarily switch to a regular connection (http) to use this app?
You will have a secure connection upon your next login.
Think about this...why would they want to use a non-secure connection?  So they can get to your stuff!
Think first, protect your personal identification, and that of your friends...and always read the fine print.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Accountability and Monitoring in Delegation- 6 of 7

At the very core of delegation is accountability.  You set expectations, but if no one is held accountable for their actions, then performance, quality and delivery can all suffer.  Each person has to know exactly what their specific area of responsibility is, leaving nothing to guesswork.  You should confirm the structure you provide in writing in each and every case, leaving nothing to the imagination.  Those instances where one employee feels misused or slighted, or even that they are not treated fairly usually are a consequence of ambiguity.  When you assign more than one person to an area of responsibility, or to a shared task, be sure to also let them share the accountability for the project.  Working together provides rewards, but you need to make sure that one party doesn’t take advantage of the other.  Establish a culture that rewards success and avoids blame, and be sure to setup effective monitoring and communication.

There is a difference between empowerment and abandonment.  To ensure progress and success, you need to monitor the tasks that you delegate. 
  • Inexperienced staff may need some special attention, closer monitoring, at least at the beginning of the project
  • Use mentors to help the new people or inexperienced on the team
  • Tact and sensibility go a long way when monitoring, to make sure that people are encouraged and empowered, not micro-managed
  • Empower them to make decisions that affect their jobs and the methods involved the process
  • Give them accolades and rewards on the spot, as you see positive activities occur – what is rewarded gets repeated
  • Ask the person involved if they feel up to the task – don’t just assume that they are prepared
  • Set up systems:
    • Correspondence
    • Meetings
    • Access to software, systems
    • Written reports
    • Your accessibility
  • Assume that every process can be improved, and teach them to challenge the process
  • Work with staff to set deadlines and interim milestones

Monday, May 9, 2011


In the early stages of management, because of inexperience, delegation is mostly trial and error.  As you build your capabilities, you will find out how to be effective and which systems to use.  It all begins with choosing the right person for the job.  One must resist the temptation to grab the first available person, the easiest to find, the most willing.  There will be times when a very quick decision must be made, but even then there is a way to pick someone suitable.  In these situations, close monitoring is necessary. 
Objectivity plays an important role in delegation.  You shouldn’t base your decision on irrelevant factors, such as influence from others, past experiences, assumptions and the like.  Just because the person is your bosses’ favorite does not necessarily make them the best candidate for the project. 
Over time, you will develop your own systems for analyzing the person, the task and the situation needing delegation.  You will need to use job descriptions to help analyze and match skills and experience to task, and, in the event that no ideal match exists, compromise is often necessary.
Ultimately, you have to option not to delegate, of course, if there is simply no one that closely matches your needs, or if your group is either overloaded or in conflict.  Worse case scenario is that you’ll just have to do it yourself.
Staff Attributes to Consider:
Does the candidate work well with others?
What level of supervision will be needed?
Does the candidate make good decisions?
  • Is the candidate good with analytical processes, details, and organization?  When given a detail-oriented task, such as constructing a database or putting together a statistical analysis of data for a project, this person will excel.
  • Is the candidate project-oriented, systematic and good at follow-through? This person will have the skills to coordinate vendors or other workers in the process of monitoring work flow, and will check processes to make sure they are online and completed.
  • Is the candidate a visionary, a good leader, good at getting others to follow?  Teams need leaders, and this person has the capability to head up a special projects team, or multi-purpose team.
  • Is the person’s attitude a good fit for the task?  The more difficult and complex tasks, and those that have close deadlines need an individual that has a ‘do whatever it takes’ attitude.
  • Does the candidate have initiative, or need motivation?  When you assign a task, you need to be able to back away and let them work, otherwise, you accomplish nothing by delegating to them, if you are trying to lighten your load.
  • How quickly does the candidate adapt, learn, and understand?  For those mis-matched projects that you don’t have an exact fit, this person can quickly get ready and on-board.
  • Is the candidate dependable?  Can you count on this employee?  If not, do you need them?
Other factors to consider
  • What skills and experience does the candidate possess, and do they fit the need of the project?
  • What additional training may the project require?  Do you have a fit?
  • Are there training opportunities?  You may be able to create an opportunity to train new personnel or cross-train the more experienced ones.
  • What is the general staff workload?  Overloading your team members will only accomplish a decrease in morale and an increase in the level of frustration.
  • What is the stress level of the candidate?  Pile it on, burn ‘em out.  Too many tasks can do the same to your people that it does to you.  Pick someone else or no one.

Many factors must be considered in the process of delegation.  This is probably one of the reasons many supervisors just do it themselves, not taking into account the long-term value of allowing others to help and participate in the success of the team.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Osama Bin Laden dead...

The market will likely reflect this will appreciate our accomplishment!  Go USA!

Monday, April 25, 2011


Managers should delegate as many of the lower-level and routine operational tasks as possible.  There are some areas, however, such as strategic planning, crisis management and human resources matters that you need to retain, for obvious reasons.  Some tasks require your attention and are a significant reason that you have the position that you are in such as:
Leadership – the leader of a team is responsible for the direction, motivation, guidance and control. 
Strategic Planning – planning for the success of the team is your job, and you are privy to upper level information that is necessary for good planning.
Management – sometimes referred to as control, management is much more.  Your responsibility to ensure quality, performance and delivery is essential to the team’s success
Human Resources – personnel management is another of the leader’s areas that a part of the job function, and cannot be delegated.  Employees will not always make the best decisions when it comes to their welfare, and the manager has to provide the leadership in this area.
Rewards – both positive and negative behaviors need recognition, payoff and even constructive correction.  Setting the expectations, coaching for performance and rewarding excellence can only be done by the manager.
Results – bottom line…the manager is ultimately responsible for his or her group’s bottom line.  The overall success of the team is your job.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Are you listening?

We often speak of the value of communication and leave out half the skill...listening.  Listening to understand and empathize is just as important as the ability to get a thought from brain to mouth.  

When we pay attention to someone, several things occur.
  1. we validate them as a human being, someone with something to say
  2. we show interest in them, and in the subject they speak of
  3. we learn from them
  4. we are involved with them in a common purpose.

Listening builds relationships, solves problems, resolves conflicts, makes us better leaders.  
Do this:
Desire- to listen to the other person
Interest- show interest in them, their point of view
Self-Discipline- put aside the distractions, personal baggage and other priorities, and
Concentrate on them.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Why Don't We Delegate? Delegation 3 of 7

Managers often find it difficult to delegate, for a variety of reasons.  The barriers to delegation keep the manager from reaching full potential, due to the overwhelming nature of supervision and the myriad of personal tasks that must be accomplished.
Yes, you are probably more efficient at most tasks than your staff, due to experience, knowledge and other strengths.  However, if you insist on doing everything yourself, you’ll quickly find yourself swamped and overwhelmed.  Consequently, you will not have the time to spend on higher-level tasks such as strategic planning and analysis.  In addiction, how can you expect your staff to become proficient if you don’t give them the opportunity to learn?  Delegating to others is one of the best ways to develop talent.
We all have a beginning.  In our infancy as managers, we are not sure about the right way to delegate, the right people to use, the amount of time to allocate, and so forth.  Our challenge is to develop as leaders and enable the use of tools such as delegation.  Delegation is normally a self-taught skill, but not enough is said about finding a mentor.  Asking a senior associate or peer to help you understand the process cannot only save time, but minimize mistakes.  You must pay your dues and delegation is only a step.  As you work in the organization, you probably will notice someone that is very good at managing and motivating others to success.  You might just approach them, in a respectful way, with something like, “I’ve noticed that you are very effective in delegating to others, and are probably more productive because of it.  Would you mind sharing your techniques with me some time?”  We all love appreciation, and a request like this is one of the best forms.
One of the strongest barriers to delegation is the concern that you will overburden your staff, especially for the manager that cares.  One solution is to put a reporting process in placed that allows the manager to be in touch with the workload of each person.  The challenge is to do that without being a micro-manager. 
An excellent way to manage the time and task load of your people is to have a brief ‘touch-base’ meeting on a weekly basis.  Have them prepare a simple report that tells you what their major projects are, what the current status is, and what they need in order to complete the task or move to the next level, and send the report to you in advance of the meeting for your review.  In the meeting, you can simply ask questions, keeping the meeting brief and productive.  If you discover that your staff has so much to do that they cannot accept any new tasks, maybe it is time for addition of more staff.
It is natural for the manager to want to be in constant control of the process, the time utilized and the quality of work within the department.  To delegate is to give up some control, and sometimes this creates a barrier to effective delegation.  The manager must remember that ultimate responsibility still falls to the manager, regardless of who actually completes the task.  The delegator stays in control by delegating to the right person, making sure they have the resources and time necessary to complete the task, monitor the progress, and exchange regular feedback as the process evolves.  Reality is, the manager never really loses control of the project if they manage it correctly.
The delegator and the delegatee must trust each other for the process to work.  We set expectations of each other through experiences and regular contact.  Part of the growth of a relationship involves the feeling that the other person will do what is expected, and be consistent in process.  Trust is conditional and not blind…there are requirements on each side of any relationship if the relationship is functional, and the satisfaction of these requirements establishes trust and expectations.  Good constructive feedback and respect build trust also.  The projects you delegate must be commensurate with the level of trust you have attained working together.  As the trust grows, you can assign more complex and important tasks, release more responsibility, and feel confident that your staff will perform as expected.
Next time, we'll discuss who we should delegate to.  

Friday, April 1, 2011

Per USA Today, 2010 CEO pay jumps 27% in major corporations...

Of course it did.  Our government is providing their profits with tax breaks and subsidies, while the CEOs layoff people and pad their own pockets, actually failing to do what they are supposed to do - grow the company.  Why does the US government give companies tax breaks and subsidies, and allow these people to make unfair wages?  I don't understand.  I think it is time we write and call our congressmen and say we have had enough...make companies stand on their own, just like you and I have to.  We'll never get out of debt while we allow the largest corporations to pay little or no taxes.  It's time for the little guys to stand up and speak out!  Here's the article:

Friday, March 25, 2011

Effective Delegation - 2 of 7

Time Management, Boosting Morale and Confidence
In this age of efficiency and execution, every employee, from top to bottom, has a full range of tasks and priorities that must be completed.  Delegation allows one to be more productive, freeing up time to perform those essential managerial tasks, such as strategic planning, control, monitoring and training.  Allowing someone else to handle the more mundane tasks gives you both time and flexibility.  Frequent delegation also allows your staff to feel more confident, empowered and able to perform their day-to-day tasks.
Employees that feel trusted, involved and empowered tend to be happier and more productive – delegation increases morale through the process of building confidence.  As people learn to be more effective, they feel accomplished, needed and relieved.  The sense of accomplishment that workers feel because of delegated trust motivates them to work harder, because they feel rewarded personally.  Most employees relish the increased responsibility given to them when assigned to new tasks.  They won’t grow and develop as well without new opportunities and learning experiences provided by effective delegation.
Cross-Training and New Skills
In addition to the benefit of your own better use of time, delegation allows for employee development through cross-training and the learning of new skills.  Workers that have to resign themselves to performing the same task time after time, day after day, with no variety or flexibility, will soon become bored and complacent.  A person needs the opportunity to build on their strengths and improve their weaknesses.  Next time, What do you delegate?      ...lead on!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Don't buy coffee in airports...

If you travel as I do, you've noticed that airport restaurants and shops seem to think coffee has gold flakes in it.  It is time we stopped paying ridiculous prices for something they pay so little for.  Many of them are even selling instant coffee for the same price.  JOIN ME - DON'T BUY AIRPORT COFFEE.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Communicate! ...both ways.

The most key ingredient to building relationships, working with people, leading people, even surviving is communication.  Often we discuss our ability to get our point across, to influence others, to get what we need...but we fail too often to discuss the importance of good listening skills.  Our ability to interpret, absorb and understand the meaning of another's communication is essential for the relationship to thrive.  If you feel you are not a good listener, do this: 1. want to...want to listen, to understand, to connect 2. develop an interest, in the other person, their topic, their needs  3.  ignore distractions and put aside personal issues so that you can focus on the other person, their needs, what you can do for them.  Once you can do this, you become a good listener.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Perception is our reality

What do employees want?  What do they need?  Hard to discern, sometimes, but if we put some thought to it, it is not really that difficult.  If we would simply look to our own past, therein lie many answers.  Have you worked for a manager that you saw to be a real leader, someone that inspired and motivated you just because of who they were, and how they treated people?  Like many, you may have experienced that manager that was more of a 'boss' than a leader- dominant, 'my way or the highway' thinking, self centered, disrespectful, or any of the many negative qualities that some think work.  Here's my best, and yet the simplest tip.  Don't become what you don't like...  Choose to be good, be insightful, to be a great leader.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Delegate...1 of 7.

In its simplest form, management is no more than delegation.  As a manager, you are given a piece of the corporate vision or mission to accomplish, but you, as an individual, cannot do it all.  So, you enlist the skills, talents and time of those that report to you to get the task accomplished...delegation.  The hard part is doing it right- knowing what to delegate, who to give it to, making sure they have what they need, and following through correctly to make sure the job is done well.  I'll be expanding on delegation over the next few weeks, watch for the next sections.  1 of 7.  
...lead on!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Welcome to my redesigned website!

Going forward, I'll be posting regular tips on leadership, management, supervision, time management, customer service, and other valuable and useful topics relating to business success.  Return regularly to see what is new.
thanks, ed