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When I plan and delegate tasks to my customer service team there are a number of factors I need to take into consideration. Firstly the importance of the task must be determined. According to the urgency vs. importance matrix there are four different kinds of tasks, high urgency/high importance, high importance/ low urgency, low importance/high urgency and low urgency/low importance. Once the importance of the task has been determined I can decide whether to delegate the task or complete it myself. For example I would hardly ever delegate a high importance/high urgency task to one of my team members because I could lose vital time needed to complete the task. Additionally given the importance of the task I would prefer to retain the control and complete the task myself.
Once the decision has been made to delegate a task I then proceed with selecting the best suited team member. In order for the task to be completed efficiently and effectively it is important that the person who takes on the task has the necessary skills. For example if a business document needs to be translated from English into French and the person taking on the task is not familiar with the French language he will have problems completing the task. If you have someone who can speak French in your team it would be wise to delegate the task to him.
When selecting the right team member for a task one should take into consideration the skills, attitudes, expertise and experience needed to complete the task. After these primary factors have been assessed a team leader then needs to look at the secondary factors. Some of these secondary factors consider the availability, motivations and benefits of the selected person.
An organisation should try to get the maximum benefit from their employee’s skills and knowledge, likewise in a team environment. If the skills and knowledge are not used they are wasted and the levels of internal efficiency and external effectiveness will decline. For example if the company is hiring a new sales manager it might be wise to consider the sales executive for the position. Taking into consideration he has the necessary skills and knowledge to fill the position. By pursuing this option the company will save time and resources needed to hire externally. The example shows efficient and effective use of a team member’s skills and knowledge. By implementing this action a team leader can create a positive atmosphere among his sales team which proves that hard work pays off.
One technique which can be used to allocate work to your team and individuals is the five stage process. Firstly a team leader must break down the team’s objectives into specific activities, tasks or targets.
Secondly the tasks must be ranked according to their priority rating. The important/urgent matrix can be used as an aid to help determine the importance of each task.
Thirdly the team leader must analyse the skills needed to complete the task. In addition he must be very familiar with the skills and knowledge of his team members. Once the team leader has a good understanding of the task content and employees’ skills he will be able to match them up accordingly.
The fourth step involves listing team members’ key skills. While doing so a team leader should also take into consideration his team’s alternative requirements. For example someone in the team might benefit from taking on a task to help improve his skills. While another member might benefit from the motivation or confidence a task may provide. There will also be certain tasks which allow team members with high skills levels to mentor others. Ultimately the team leader should list his team members’ skills including internal situational factors in order to make the decision which benefits the company.
The last step matches up people to tasks. A business tool called the matrix can be used to achieve this. It is a basic chart which lists the main tasks in the main columns on the horizontal axis and sub columns describing the skill requirements underneath. On the vertical axis are the names of your team members. Once created you can cross reference the name with the skills and mark the boxes where the person has the required skills for the task. Once completed the team leader will get a clear overview of who is best suited to take on the task.
Human resource planning can be used to assure output and quality. In order to do this a manager will need to learn how to “manage the gaps” appropriately. Managing the gaps basically means bridging the gap between person and task. In many situations managers might come across a skill shortage amongst the team. For example only one person in the company knows how to use a certain program.
The manager has to make a choice of whether to hire someone externally who has that skill (permanent or temporary basis) or whether to develop the internal talent within the company. Human resource planning can help you plan your requirements for the future. Forecasts of future work levels, labour productivity and employee turnover are created in order to proactively plan for the future. In order to assess his future requirement of employees a manager can use the simple formula of future work levels divided by future labour productivity.
Hiring someone may prove to be the expensive option especially if there is an abundance of young talented individuals available. A team of motivated individuals would welcome the chance to receive training. It would give them a chance to develop and broaden their skills base.
Human resource planning is the perfect way of planning output and quality requirement are met. A manager needs to work proactively to produce a seamless plan from which he will benefit in the future.
Delegating to achieve workplace objectives
On one occasion I delegated a task which was originally passed to me by the general manager to one of my customer service team members. The task was to collect feedback from the owners of prestigious projects we had been working on in the UAE region. Given the importance and the urgency of task this would normally be something I would take on myself. However I decided to delegate the task to one of my customer service team members whom I thought to be qualified to complete the task efficiently and effectively. The outcome would be a learning experience for my team member, a lift in moral/spirit for him and the team and an increased level of trust between me and the whole team. Other colleagues were also aware that I had delegated this important task to a team member. Delegating the task showed that everybody is important to the organisation and if you work hard you will get a chance to prove your ability.
Given the increased levels of communication technology nowadays, everybody is well informed at the work place. Therefore it is important to show your team members and colleagues respect by using techniques like empowerment. It also gives them a feeling of ownership and responsibility for certain tasks. The more important the task the more positive the outcome will be for the team member. However a manger must remember to delegate only to employees whom he sees ready to take on the task otherwise empowerment could backfire.
One barrier of delegation at my workplace is that there not enough qualified colleagues to complete a time bound task. Often when work is delegated from a manager he will require the task to be completed in short time frame. In order to complete delegated work quickly the staff needs to be qualified. Without the applicable knowledge the tasks will take longer to complete.
The lack of qualified staff is also a barrier to delegation because the manager expects the work to be completed to a level similar to his own. Without sufficient knowledge the delegated task will not be completed to an acceptable standard.
In my organisation the company culture supports delegation. It is a small organisation which sees itself as one team working towards achieving the same objective regardless of department. A small organisation needs to be dynamic and flexible in order to fulfil the everyday demands of the environment. This is why delegation is encouraged, empowerment of employees creates a “we” feelings within the organisation.
In order to monitor the outcomes of delegation at my workplace I usually use an action plan. It consists of a table which includes four columns; issues, action, resources and target completion. The desired outcomes and actual outcomes are mentioned at the bottom of the table. By using this method a list of issues can be created. Once completed suitable actions are listed in the second column. These actions will either involve yourself or the delegation of a task to a team member. The third column lists the resources needed to solve the issue and carry out the action. The fourth column sets a completion date for the action. The desired outcomes are noted before the task is completed.
Finally once the action has been completed in accordance with the target date the results are analysed in the actual outcomes section. When I compare the desired outcome with the actual outcome I can see if they match the task was completed. If they do not match the task was not carried out properly and the delegation was a fail.
The action plan for delegating tasks provides me with an overview of the delegation. If the task fails it is clear to see where things went wrong. The important thing is to use this information and apply it to delegate the next task and achieve a better result.
Feedback, recognition and reward techniques prove to be very effective in my workplace. Once a delegated task has been completed instant feedback from the manager is the most effective type of feedback. The manager should always promote constructive feedback upon which an employee or team member can improve regardless if the task was a fail or a success. If the task was a success the feedback should be given in public so that it lifts moral in the office. If the task was a fail it would be wiser to give feedback in more private environment in order to avoid a team members being demoralised. To summarise feedback can lead to an increase in performance of team members.
Recognition is also practiced by using methods such as delegating. Delegating work not only helps the company achieve its objective but also makes team members feel like they are important to the company. It shows trust and recognition of skills. Team members are recognised in public for their achievements which gives them an incentive to succeed again.
Rewards are given to achievers in the form of a bonus at the end of the year. There is also a team bonus were all team members must work together in order to achieve one objective. Rewards give employees an incentive for succeeding at a task. It also keeps the moral high within the company.
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