So, here are four very simple methods to actually get some documentation and systems in place with minimal effort and time.
1. Screencasts are your friend.
You are doing this work anyhow, so why not record yourself doing it and run some commentary – you’ll end up with a handy video to pass onto your team. You’re creating the documentation and making a permanent record that your staff can refer to rather than repeatedly asking questions. Screencast tools to try include: Jing from Techsmith or Screenr.
2. Ask employees to, “Explain it back to me.”
Rather than assigning someone a task and waiting for them to come back with completed work, have them take an intermediate step of explaining back to you the work they will be doing. Ask them to tell you, in their own words, how they will tackle the work and reiterate the expected outcome. Aside from catching any misunderstandings right up front, this has the added benefit of clearly setting expectations around delivery times and quality of work.
3. Create checkpoints, milestones and questions.
Successful delegation requires a balance of saying “no” to the urges of micro-managing, yet never walking away completely. Set aside a period of time each day (or week) when you will be available to answer questions.
Ask your new hire to store all their questions up for this one session, but remember to let them know that you are still available if there’s anything urgent. This will provide structure and stop questions trickling in all day every day. Next, identify checkpoints from the outset to help you avoid the temptation of constantly looking over shoulders.
4. Share constructive feedback.
Once a task is complete and work is submitted, it is all too easy to immediately move onto the next super-urgent task; only giving an obligatory nod to the work that was done. The danger with this, however, is that you’re sending the message that the work is not important and let’s face it, no one wants to think their work isn’t valued!
You need to review the work properly. At the start review every single submission in detail and then over time reduce either the detail, or review every second or third submission in detail.
Also, when you do spot an error or issue, resist the urge to simply correct it yourself. Take the time to talk through the error with the person who made it so they can understand what you require and avoid making the same mistake next time.
Oh! And remember, be a human and not a robot. Give praise and public acknowledgement where it is due.
Daniel Barnett is the Founder and CEO of WORK[etc], a web-based CRM and business management platform that powers more than 1200 businesses worldwide. He gets a buzz from problem-solving and helping his customers to grow their businesses. Connect with WORK[etc] on Twitter.
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