Following Up, Critical for Effective Management
Don’t fall into the trap of believing that, since an assignment was given, it is in the process of being completed. “Trust but verify” is a tried and true Russian proverb that will work for you if employed properly.
- Provide clear instructions to employees
- Outline your expected timeline and due dates for tasks
- Request status updates and follow-ups to re-enforce the priority
- Balance your desire for status updates depending on the urgency of the request
The Full Scoop
It has been said that the “fortune is in the follow-up”. This can be applied to many aspects of business, when it comes to your success as a manager, it will be crucial to the success of many a project. We have experienced situations where a manager assumed an employee was working on a task, because they had been “asked to do so”; only to find out this was not the case. It is rare to find someone who is naturally exceptional at understanding a request, completing it in a timely manner and reporting back promptly on the status. We need to develop our workforce until this becomes a habit. Keep the following in mind if you are having a hard time delegating assignments,
- Make sure timelines and due dates are given.
- Strive to understand the current workload of your employee, are you introducing conflicting priorities?Have you provided unclear or highly watered down instructions?
- If your employee is hesitant to make mistakes, take an extra moment to understand whether they have concerns with the assignment being given.
- Address situations where you find someone has little motivation to complete assignments, if you are effectively delegating and training; there may be underlying performance issues that need to be addressed.
When you request a task be completed, be sure you stick to these key rules of delegating. One of the most important steps is in the follow-up, your instructions may not be as clear as you had assumed. Check to ensure your instructions were clear, a deadline was given and recorded, and an understanding of the urgency of the request was made. Following up on the status will help re-enforce the importance of your request. Emphasize to the individual you are delegating to, the importance of them reporting back to you status updates. If you do not report back status updates, the individual delegating will not know whether the request was completed; employees need to understand this principle. Good communication is key to ensuring a request is understood, prioritized and reported back to a manager.