New leaders are challenged by delegating and providing feedback to the people who report to them. The sooner these managers get comfortable with these skills, the more effective they will be.
When you start working with new direct reports, one of the most effective things you can do is reach an understanding on communication. Do you want the person to talk to you? Email? Text? How often do you expect check-ins? Having clarity over these issues will set the stage for your expectations.
Delegation can be tricky. Your early efforts to delegate often result in the frustration that things aren’t moving quickly enough. Manage your expectations: Don’t expect that someone who hasn’t previously done a particular task can do it quickly or even accurately.
Instead, break it down so that the person being asked to complete the task is comfortable doing it. Make sure the person asks questions.
Keep in mind is that when people do something for the first time, often they won’t ask questions. Human nature is such that they can be timid of sounding ignorant, or fear of being perceived as not competent. A reassuring demeanor on the part of the new manager goes a long way to diffuse these concerns.
Directly related to delegation is feedback. Learn to give feedback within a reasonable amount of time. Be swift and objective; don’t bring in personality or use a judgmental tone. If you coat the feedback with a lot of positives, keep in mind that the person may not even hear the thing that needs to improve.
Criticize the action, not the person. Verify that the person understands not just your correction but why you request the correction.
Don’t fall into the trap of becoming frustrated because something you delegated hasn’t happened quickly enough, or it feels too uncomfortable to give feedback. The solution is not to do it yourself or to avoid the feedback. Neither will serve you or your direct reports well because no one – including you – will grow from the experience.
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