Thursday, October 11, 2018

Delegating for Development

I frequently get asked what I think is the best way to teach new skills on the job.  My answer is often delegation.  There is a difference between delegating tasks with the intent of completion versus delegating tasks with the intent of learning and completion. Want to increase employee accountability and minimize the risk of failure? Check out these quick tips to make the most of your assignments.  

Development Activities vs. Job Duties
Small actions you take can provide you with a double benefit when delegating that maximize opportunities for employee learning while they work toward accomplishing job duties. 

Important things to consider:

  • Development activities should come with added levels of support. As the employee learns, they will have questions. Pre-plan whom they should go to first and what sources are available to them. You may also suggest some "hands off" sources if you know there is a risk of them learning bad habits first. You will need to make yourself available on a predictable schedule so the employee has access to you as they learn.
  • Development activities must allow room for failure. Don’t assign a super-sensitive, high visibility project to your employee as a stretch assignment. Pick something that has a long deadline, that you may have time to review and finalize before it goes public or something that has a minor risk if it isn't "perfect." Think about how to paint a picture of success so they know what to strive for. And then be ready to accept less than perfect. 
  • Development activities need a post-mortem. In today's rush-around, no-resource world we complete projects, check them off the list and move on to the next thing. After a development activity is assigned, schedule a formal meeting to discuss process, roadblocks, successes and key learnings. It can be as simple as "what worked/what didn't work.” Use it as an opportunity to springboard to the next assignment. Assess your employee to see if they are continuously incorporating new skills into their daily work; this is a way to measure their learning agility.              
Most organizations today are relying on "on-the-job" (OTJ) training to develop employees to increasing levels of skill and competence. For OTJ to be effective, it requires a different approach to delegation and categorizing job tasks into development activities. This process aids learning, allows employee autonomy and accountability, and minimizes the risk of failure.

No comments: