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Delegation: how managers can remove obstacles for staff success

Delegation: how managers can remove obstacles for staff success

May 10, 2018

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Ask Integrated Work: I have a staff member who is slow at getting things done and makes more mistakes than they should. I’ve talked to them about it but things haven’t really changed. What can I do?

As leaders, it’s our job to monitor our staff’s efforts and quality of work. It’s also our job to help remove obstacles that get in the way of their doing a great job. Perhaps they need more training, or are struggling with the technology. Or their workload is overwhelming but they’re afraid to ask for help. I had a coaching client with an employee who worked at another location. The employee consistently made errors, despite being encouraged to “read the procedure.” It turned out the staff member learned best by observing and modeling. When the supervisor took the time to walk through the system with her employee the next time she was at her location, the staff member’s errors went away almost completely.

Before assuming it’s a “performance” issue, explore what might be getting in that person’s way that keeps them from doing the work to the quality you’d like. Also, make sure you’ve clearly communicated what you expect, when you expect it, what the desired outcome is, and how you’re going to monitor progress. Often we delegate work and forget that staff doesn’t necessarily have all the context we have. Spending some extra time up front to clarify your expectations and identify any potential obstacles can save you and your employee a lot of time and frustration.

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