Becoming a successful Tech Leader requires improving technical and soft skills. Throughout the years, I observed that I focused all my time on technical aspects while neglecting the soft skills area. I felt very busy, but in reality, I wasn’t moving forward in my career. Like rowing in circles with only one oar.
“It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the busyness of life, to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover it’s leaning against the wrong wall. It is possible to bebusy – very busy – without being very effective”Stephen Covey
Fortunately, I found a way to save time and work more efficiently. You too, can achieve your goals and avoid “busyness” by using this technique. It’s delegation. Here you can find my time tested-process of how best to delegate work and free up your time. This will ensure that you have both oars in the water and can move forward in your career like me.
What Can We Delegate?
Before giving you my standard delegation formula, I want to step back for a second and think about what we can delegate and how to find these things. I always use the handy tool called Eisenhower Matrix. It provides a mechanism that requires you to place tasks into one of the following quadrants:
You are in the Center
Which quadrant should I use for delegation? Remember our goal. We need to find a way to save you time, that can be wasted on unimportant tasks. After organising your tasks according to the Eisenhower Matrix, you can see that doing the things in the second quadrants personally will give you the most benefit. You will do important things for yourself without being busy.
How to increase Time In The Second Quadrant?
If we spend a lot of time in the first quadrant, it means that we live in a rush. We manage crises all the time, and it’s difficult for us to do anything else. After all, day putting out fires, there is a tendency to spend the rest of your time in the fourth quadrant. If you have a good planning and prioritisation process, you will spend less time there. I mentioned the fourth quadrant. It is a trap because we focus on unimportant tasks. Too much TV doesn’t help you in achieving your goals. You are supposed to eliminate bad and unproductive habits to reduce time spend on them.
The third quadrant is the ideal place to delegate from. Of course, you may think that many of these tasks are important, but in fact, they are not. They are crucial for someone else or they just don’t align with your goals. You can kill two birds with one stone if you try to delegate tasks from there. First of all, you can free yourself from doing unnecessary work that demands you careful planning and completion. Secondly, remember that if something is in your third quadrant, it could be in the second quadrant for someone else. You can encourage your team members to learn something new and be more responsible and empower them to make independent decisions. It creates a win-win situation. Remember that delegation still requires some effort.
How to do it efficiently? The devil is in the details.
The 3 Pillars of Delegation
Before you delegate a task, it’s good to take a look at the following prerequisites:
- Define the expected results and timelines: It’s obvious! But we have a tendency to go into details too much. Instead, we need to focus on the criteria that define the task as completed, not how exactly the person will do the task. Any suggestion from you should be only an option, not mandatory to achieve the goal. Micromanagement doesn’t save time and make your work efficient. Using SMART philosophy can help you with defining expected results here.
- Divide the task into smaller ones: A big task may require some follow-up meetings. If you define smaller steps and milestones, it will be easier for you to keep your finger on the pulse. All of you can better track progress made, see the bigger picture and discover potential bottlenecks. At this stage, it’s worth taking care of the documentation to know the scope of particular elements.
- Choosing the right people: Your chosen team member(s) need to have the necessary skills and be properly motivated. Also, consider their availability: overwhelming them with extra work reduces the chance of success even if they want to help.
When you have prepared the above elements, you may begin:
- Encourage your team member(s) to do the work. Point out the benefits and what they can learn and why this task is important.
- Discuss the expected result and clarify unclear areas.
- Determine the final scope. Ask them to describe in their own words what the task entails to make sure they understand what you want them to do.
- Determine the timelines.
- Decide how you will monitor the work without too much interference.
- Announce possible reward
- Offer your assistance, if something goes wrong
- What has already been achieved? How far are we from the plan?
- Identify areas that deviate from the standard you set. Show the team how they can prevent or limit them in the future.
- Remind yourself about the goal
Checking The Result
- Did we achieve the goal? Check indicators that the team member is accountable for.
- Make the decision whether or not to reward team member
- What did you learn?
- What did you do well?
- What would you do differently?
- What can you improve?
- How can I help you do your work better next time?
Remember about DEA:
It’s worth mentioning that I’m talking about reducing time spent in each quadrant. It means that there will be a situation when you have to do things that are not in your second quadrant. It’s still acceptable if you spend most of your time there. You need to be aware of which activities don’t help you in achieving your goals. You have to:
- Eliminate or
where it’s possible to free up your time.
Recommended Articles And Books:
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
- Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t