Cohort-Led Module: Task Management & Delegating

LEARNING MODULE DESCRIPTION:

The old adage “work smarter, not harder” has become a staple in the way employees should go about their workday. Managing time isn’t about squeezing as many tasks into the day as possible. It’s about simplifying how one works, doing things faster and relieving stress. We get so caught up in being busy that we forget to enjoy what we’re doing. Even when we focus on working smarter, we’re still often too focused on getting things done. Do you align your schedule with your priorities? Can you focus your attention and avoid distractions? Have you created effective daily routines? Are you able to set boundaries and learn to say “no”?

If you have staff to whom you can delegate tasks or projects, then delegating effectively is an essential managerial skill to help you manage your busy schedule. An effective manager must monitor a delegated project, assuming responsibility while allowing the delegate autonomy. Delegation involves entrusting another person with a task for which the delegator remains ultimately responsible. The process begins with the analysis – selecting the tasks that you could, and should, delegate. When the tasks are selected, you should provide the delegate with proper briefing as you cannot hold people responsible for vague or undefined tasks. Monitoring of some kind is also essential. The final stage is appraisal. How well has the delegate performed? Are there revisions that are necessary? Have you provided feedback so the delegate can learn from the assignment?


LEARNING GOALS FOR THIS MODULE:

  • Learn best practices around setting priorities based on your daily tasks and assignments
  • Understand how to clearly assign responsibilities and set clear objectives
  • Learn best practices around fostering a climate of individual as well as team accountability


MATERIALS:


TASKS:

  1. Read the two guides cited above from the HBR 20-Minute Manager Series.
  2. Read “8 Task Management Tips to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done.”
  3. Watch David Grady’s TED Talk.
  4. Meet in cohort to discuss topics listed in “Cohort Meeting," below.
Click here to download a Word version of this Briefing Sheet
into which you can type your responses to the following questions.


PERSONAL REFLECTIONS:

  • Do you take the time to prioritize your activities each and every day?
  • Do you tend to do the work yourself because you can do it better than others?
  • Are there tasks that you struggle with during the course of the day that you could delegate to someone else? What are those tasks?
  • Do you feel that you have the right experience to coach others through a delegated task?
  • Do you delegate to boost staff morale, build confidence and reduce your stress?
  • Do you give your staff full and frank information wherever possible?
  • How do you ensure that you have enough time for planning, training and coaching?
  • How do you monitor the progress of your delegates but without constant intervention?
  • Do you try to do only the work that must be done by you and delegate the rest?
  • How do you encourage delegates to use their initiative when confronted with problems?
  • Do you track which tasks you have delegated and to whom?
  • Do you provide positive feedback to your delegates at all times?
  • Do you make yourself available to see your staff and deal with any problems they have?
  • How do you make others accountable for completing of the assigned tasks?


COHORT MEETING (Meet in Cohort to discuss the following topics):

  • Discuss best practices regarding how you prioritize your daily tasks and activities. What tools (if any) do you use to manage your tasks?
  • Share a task that can be delegated to someone else and how you would go about defining the task; naming the delegate; monitoring and encouraging; reviewing and appraising.
  • Discuss how you foster a climate of accountability.

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