Bridging the Gap Delegation is a critical task for management. However, effective delegation cannot be fully successful unless the person who receives the work assignment is effective in responding to delegation. Today we will focus on how to be an effective person when you have been delegated to carry out certain work.
Rule 1: be good at listening. Listening and hearing are different. Listening means you understand what other people say. Hearing means you simply acknowledged the sound but did not take in the content. Staff who is truly accountable will ask questions when they do not understand something. Saying “ yes ” without understanding is a sign of lack of accountability in communication. Thai people are afraid of asking questions such as: “Excuse me, John, what do you mean by „ improve customer satisfaction‟? ” Asking a question might be seen as a sign of ngow (stupidity) In fact most modern executives are happy to see staff asking questions. They see such behavior as demonstrating commitment to pursue the work to its next stage. It‟s a sign to the boss that a person is assertive enough to ask and also committed enough to accept accountability. Remember, a good listener always asks for clarification.
Avoid “Killer Phrases” We tried that before This situation is different It costs too much We don‟t have the time It‟s against company policy Why change it? It‟s working o.k. Let‟s form a committee to discuss it further Good idea, but..... We can‟t do that You just don‟t understand
Become an Active Listener Eliminate distractions Stop talking Listen with understanding Don‟t interrupt Pay attention to feelings Provide feedback“ NO GOOD IDEA EVER ENTERED THE HEAD THROUGH AN OPEN MOUTH”
Rule 2. Summarize what you have heard periodically. If the work delegated to you consists of several parts, summarize them from time to time. This will help both parties to stay on the same track. Don‟t ask the question when it‟s already an hour past the topic.
Rule 3: if you are not sure about the time, say so. In many cases, the assignment is new to your boss and you. However, the boss might set a deadline that is too short. If you are not sure about whether the work can be completed, don‟t just say “no” Tell your boss that you would like to check and come back to him or her at, say, 3 p.m. Try to avoid saying, “I will get back to you with the answer as soon as possible.” It‟s not specific enough. Bosses need specific answers on timelines, since they have bosses to answer to as well. If you feel a deadline is unrealistic, do not accept it but be prepared offer a constructive. Explain why it‟s not realistic and ask you boss for support if you think some modification is needed. This will show both assertiveness and accountability.
Rule 4: Add your comments and input to the work assignment. Do not be afraid of sia-nah (losing face). It‟s okay to say something wrong in front of your boss rather than saying something wrong in another place. Usually, your boss will be smart enough to pretend not to hear your “ not so smart ” input. Instead, think of the machine-gun approach to proposing ideas. Just fire away, because sooner or later the right bullet will hit its target --- by that time the boss will have forgotten any “ not so smart “ ideas.
Rule 5: Try to confirm your boss‟s objective for the assignment. The objective is the compass; it tells you where to go. A clear objective usually leads to clear implementation.
Rule 6: Show your plan. If possible, on receiving the assignment, tell your boss what your plan is, even if it‟s only a rough one at first. The benefit is that you are articulating your thinking to your boss. With the boss‟s experience and judgment, he might spot some flaw or loophole, so it‟s better to have his input during the planning rather than at completion.
Rule 7: Identify any potential problems and possible solutions. During the discussion of your draft plan, you might be able to spot some potential problems. Tell your boss about possible solutions. Again, they might only be preliminary, but your boss will acknowledge your accountability and initiative.
Rule 8: Set priorities together. On many occasions, your boss might forget that he had already delegated so many assignments. Spend some time to discuss priorities periodically. Inform him that you already have five assignments and the new one is aiming for the same deadline. Ask which one has priority.
Rule 9: After a meeting, summarize the key points of the assignment, as you understand them. This is why people call such a document a “ memorandum “; it helps promote mutual understanding.
Rule 10: Agree with your boss on methods of reporting progress --- oral, by e-mail, leaving a message with the secretary? How often --- daily, weekly or monthly?
Following these 10 rules will help both sides reach yourcommon goal.