The Art of Delegation

One of the pillars of Red Urchin (see Red Urchin Principles) is Responsibility. Part of responsibility is knowing who is responsible for a task and what responsibility actually infers. Part of effective time management is the art of delegation. Its easy to get wrong and easy to get right if you follow our simple rules.

Responsibility is a lofty goal and something that managers struggle with in both themselves and the people that report to them. It works in conjunction with the principle of delegation. If you delegate a task you are automatically making that person responsible for that task, or are you? Where does the responsibility lie if you delegate a task? The first thing we need to understand before we can look at the rules of delegation is the definition of responsibility in this context and what delegation actually means. For our requirements, responsibility is certainly passed when a task is delegated (but it is certainly not forgotten). The best way to pass responsibility is to delegate and with delegation comes the inherent responsibility.

It is a key pillar of the Red Urchin system to delegate effectively and we emphasise the word “effectively”. Many times managers have delegated a task to someone and then wondered in vain sometime after the expected due date of that task why they have heard nothing. By utilising Red Urchin’s 3rd D, Delegate, you can hand off tasks, but how do you do this without suffering from a similar fate as our Manager described above? Follow the Red Urchin guide to the art of effective delegation:

Firstly, set the expectation with all people whom you delegate tasks to that they understand the following rules of task delegation:

  • Do you understand the task you have been delegated?
  • If no, please ask questions so that their is no confusion around the task (this is normally the fault of the delegator)
  • Do you understand the quality/expectations of the completed task?
  • Do you understand the date/time in which the completed task needs to be returned to the delegator?
  • Do you understand that if you cannot meet that date or quality that it is your responsibility to let the delegator know

Secondly, use the “Due from Others” section in Red Urchin! This is one of the most under utilised functions of any time management system and makes a huge difference to your efficiency. Not only does delegating a task “effectively’ get it away from our field of view and our subconscious but you know exactly when and to what quality it is due back.

Follow these rules and implement the 3rd D!

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