Train, Transfer and Track
|As leaders, we delegate to increase the total amount of work we can accomplish. By working with and through our team members, we not only achieve our goals more quickly and effectively — we also help our employees learn and grow.
Unfortunately, many leaders struggle when it comes to delegating. If you are having a tough time in the delegation department, think about the three T’s: Train, Transfer and Track. Here’s how it breaks down:
When you hesitate to delegate to a team member, it’s often because you worry the employee has not been properly trained. You are not alone-this “lack of training” fear is one of the most common barriers to delegation. However, as a leader, it’s your responsibility to train your people. You have to teach them how to accomplish their work and successfully contribute to your team and organization.
When you do not take the time to train your employees, they feel underutilized and overlooked. They might wonder why you continue to pass them over as they see you continually hand out projects to the same small group of employees.
Of course, training an employee means you’ll have to take time out of your busy schedule and teach him how to effectively perform important tasks. However, your efforts will pay off in the long run. If you spend some time training an employee upfront, you’ll save countless hours when the time comes to transfer projects to him.
When you delegate a project to a team member, you are not relinquishing responsibility. After all, your boss will continue to hold you accountable for accomplishing the ultimate business result.
Consequently, when you delegate you are essentially “deputizing” a member of your team. You are transferring your authority to her so she can act on your behalf in managing a project to completion. This allows you to focus your energies on other projects, knowing that members of your team are working to complete the tasks you’ve assigned to them.
Once you’ve delegated a project to a team member, you cannot simply check it off your list and forget about it. Because you will remain responsible for the final outcome of the project, it is crucial to keep track of the employee’s progress.
When I worked at Ford Motor Company, my supervisor kept track of all the projects he delegated by recording them in a notebook he kept in the top middle drawer of his desk. I came to refer to this sacred notebook as his “delegation diary.” Because he documented all the projects he assigned to team members in this notebook, he had one central place where he could keep track of all of his outstanding delegations.
My supervisor would consult his delegation diary on a daily basis to determine if he needed to check in with an employee on the status of a particular project. While he was not a micromanager, he knew the value of stopping by at least a couple of times before the assignment was due. This gave him an opportunity to see if there were any unanticipated issues that might prevent the employee from delivering the project on time.
If you want to be a fit, effective leader, it’s important to learn how to delegate. Remember, delegation is as easy as the three T’s: Train, Transfer and Track. And never underestimate the value of a delegation diary!