In leadership, one of the most important skills is knowing how and when to delegate. But when all of your employees are working from home and in some cases where teammates are in different time zones, delegating can be a bit challenging and confusing.
We’ve gathered some tips from various sources on how to handle such responsibility.
360 view of your process
As a team leader, supervisor or administrator of your organization or school, it’s advisable to fully understand the process and expectations for delegating tasks first before doing any actual delegation. Understanding the process and expectations may entail understanding issues that would arise and how prepared you are to tackle those issues.
Many administrators or directors try to delegate tasks without even understanding why they’re delegating in the first place. If they get asked about concerns on the project, they can’t explain and often admit they didn’t understand it either. And that’s a lot of time and resources wasted on something that could have been clear from the start.
Ask your staff when you’re about to delegate and see if they truly understand the task at hand. If there are questions asked from the start, that’s a good sign that you’re on your way to clarifying things and setting expectations properly.
Use tools that are easy for them to understand. If training is necessary, provide it if you can. Some employees are not well-adjusted to this kind of work arrangement, yet they need to be comfortable with the process. Show support so they can have a fulfilling experience.
Tech Tools for Delegating
An example of using technology as a framework for work delegation is GroupLink for SafestSchools, a cloud-hosted issue-resolution and e-workflow tool for resolving school safety issues. This tool is an ideal example for delegating workflow for school staff (i.e., administrators, teachers, and even family or members of the community) and for recording, communicating, and collaborating on the most relevant, accurate information to benefit the individual student. Within its functions, you have features for task, accountability and resolution delegation.
Using a tool such as this for easier delegation, you can then provide further clarity to ensure everyone is on the same page at the start and throughout the project even while working from home.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, and for at least 4 months beyond, GroupLink donates and makes each of its cloud-hosted e-workflow and e-delegation solutions available at NO COST to new organization entities. These solutions are GroupLink everything HelpDesk, GroupLink Workflow Process & Incident Tracking, and GroupLink for SafestSchools which all have excellent workflow and WFH capability.
Click here to make your request and begin use.
Prioritize communication tools
In the absence of physical interaction, it’s hard to convey messages without losing their context. The common culprit for this is excessive emails a.k.a. Spamming. You don’t want that kind of communication in the team else it can become confusing and counterproductive.
Email your teams for important announcements but for most other kinds of communications use the following kinds of tools to observe a proper space for understanding what is necessary. Use Slack as your instant messenger platform for real-time collaboration on projects or tasks. Monitor your projects using Trello or Monday.com. For VoIP tools, our favorites are Skype and Zoom. These tools are commonly used in virtual teams as they are easy and convenient.
Require everyone — teachers (if your organization is a school), administrators, directors, and everyone who is part of the team to check-in at the start of the morning. Have a quick huddle or a 15-minute scrum to know what everyone’s working on and what difficulties there are that may hinder progress with the tasks.
Explore other options if you find existing tools quite difficult. When everyone’s working virtually, you need to constantly explore various tool options until you find the right one!
Observe proper documentation
When everything’s documented, the supervisor, administrator, or whoever’s handling the team can see through issues that may arise in the future and he/she can actually prepare for it ahead of time.
Common tools used include Jira Atlassian, Zoho CRM, and Salesforce. In these tools, people can upload emails, documents, images, and other important files that become part of the project history and can be accessible by the team so they can circle back to them as needed.
And just like those tools commonly used by remote teams, GroupLink everything HelpDesk, GroupLink Workflow Process & Incident Tracking, and GroupLink for SafestSchools can also do the same job with preserving documentation, and they also serve as issue and incident resolution tools. Issues can be submitted through the system as a ticket, and the assigned, delegated professionals can attend to the issue immediately upon receiving the request. Details like timestamps, requesters, and concerns are well-documented in these tools so they serve as the digital equivalent of physical folders stored in a filing cabinet. It’s accessible and can help the organization or school keep everyone on the same track.
Analyze projects and tasks
Get a 360-view of the tasks at hand by identifying them at different levels. Ask yourself which tasks need to be done today, tomorrow, for the week, and for the month, and make sure that they match with the daily, weekly, and monthly goals you have set for the team.
Also, ask why. “Why does Mary have to do this?” “Why does she need to finish this by Monday?” Ask questions that will give you an idea of how you need to get everything documented and recorded in one place or in one tool.
Create a to-do list on your journal or on an app that works for you. Check those tasks that are difficult and will require time. Ask yourself if the task is worth prioritizing by Mary or other teammates that will most likely be done in hours. Do you think they’ll have enough time for other tasks? If not, you may want to break the task into two hours for them today and another two hours the following day. Or you may want to move low priority tasks to tomorrow.
Follow the Eisenhower Matrix
In GroupLink, we use Trello (as we’ve always mentioned) for our lists of tasks for our team members. It’s a Kanban method that is easier to follow compared to other project management approaches. The Project Manager, in our case, the supervisor of the team, determines the importance of each task and whether it’s worth investing a team member’s time in that task or if it’ll be a complete waste of time. By recognizing this beforehand, she can determine to the best course of action and she’ll get a good sense of the time required for the task.
Here’s the matrix to give you a proper context to this advice:
According to former US president, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, urgent tasks are things that one feels the need to react to right away such as text messages, phone calls, appointments. While important tasks may not be urgent but are ones that can greatly contribute to the long-term goals you’ve set.
These four quadrants are important to remember when you are listing the tasks. Here are the rules that apply to the Matrix:
- Urgent and important: Work on these tasks ASAP
- Important but not urgent: Think of when you’ll have time for it and schedule it afterward
- Urgent but not important: Delegate these tasks to someone else
- Neither urgent nor important: Remove these from your current schedule
As a supervisor or someone who oversees and delegates tasks to your teammates, a process in place is a must. Communicate with your team all the time and provide clarity, proper feedback, and set proper expectations when delegating. If you do this with a great team attitude, and with a smile, you’ll significantly improve the productivity of your team.
Related Blog Articles
- Introduction: Using your Tech to Work-from-Home (WFH) — An 8-part Guide
- Part 2 of 8: Top 6 Key Concerns About Work-from-Home
- Part 3 of 8: Task Overload vs Smooth Workflow
- Part 4 of 8: How to Setup a Remote Team in the Midst of an Outbreak
- Part 5 of 8: Socializing and Collaborating Effectively with Teammates While Working from Home
- Part 6 of 8: 5 Easy Steps for Effective Delegation of Responsibility
- Part 7 of 8: Ways to Make Stronger Connections with Your Employees When Working From Home
Part 8 of 8: Summary