How to Work with Staff to Do The Job Right

by: Bill Ringle

When an entrepreneur says, “I’d delegate more if only my staff would do the job right,” do you know what they’re really saying? A lot of the time the entrepreneur means they’re not doing it exactly the way he or she would do it.

In our coaching conversations, we often cross the bridge of understanding that the point is getting the work done well, not controlling every aspect of the business. If you attempt that for very long, you’ll stifle growth for sure and probably lose good help.

For someone to really feel like they have ownership of a process, they’ve got to be given the freedom and ability to adopt the process, as well as the tools and support to succeed. At the same time, you’ve got to make sure that the work is done in a way that it produces the results your company needs.

The path out of this delegation cul-de-sac is to focus on the standards needed for the output. So long as the quality of the deliverable is met in a cost-effective, timely way, you can release the need to control the process.

With that in mind, here are three guidelines for establishing effective work standards:

  1. Communicate your expectations in simple, concrete terms. Rather than say, “Do this expense report, please,” You’ll need to walk someone through the report the first time and give examples of what does and does not need to be accomplished. I remember reviewing my first expense report with a manager and Bob telling me I didn’t need to put something in every spreadsheet cell. He said, “I’ve never seen so many zeros!” and we both had a good laugh.

  2. Share context so that the person working with you knows how the final product will be used. Bob also explained to me that the finance department only cared about the totals and not the work product. When you explain how someone’s work will move further down the value chain, you’re providing valuable context.

  3. Provide a rescue flare. Something I share with both my team and with business people I coach is the rescue flare idea. When delegating, I say to be resourceful and spend up to 15 minutes or so solving a roadblock or figuring a work-around. If you’re still stuck, let another designated back-up person know and you can brainstorm together.

When you use these guidelines, you’ll find it easier to delegate and get good results. That will help you accomplish more in your business.


About the Author:

Entrepreneurs can find more resources to build their business at:
Bill Ringle works with business leaders from high tech and professional service entrepreneurs in the Greater Philadelphia region and shares the strategies and tools for accelerating growth through my Business Gym with business leaders from across the United States and in 15 different countries.

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