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June 05, 2001 21:47:12
Effective Delegation Technique's For Controller's & Office Manager's Ultimate Success

Cathy J. Scott
Dynamic Results Consulting, Inc.

Delegation is the process of establishing and maintaining effective working arrangements between the Controller/Office Manager and the people who report to him/her. Mastering the Art of delegation will improve your productivity and is essential for the success of any Controller/Office Manager. By definition, delegation results when the performance of specified work is entrusted to another, and the expected results are mutually understood. Many times when I talk to a Controller or Office Manager that is feeling overwhelmed, they have slowly slipped away from delegating tasks. Some reasons I typically hear that interfere with effective delegation are:

  • Failure of the manager to truly understand what delegation is.

    Managers who delegate in name only but attempt to stay totally in control of the function are rarely successful.

  • Lack of confidence in the ability of the office staff to complete the duties assigned.

    If the manager properly trains the office employee than the office employee will be prepared to complete the delegated tasks assigned.

  • Fear that a subordinate will take over the manager's job.

    This fear is mythical. The better the underlying staff, the more successful the entire general office will perform and the manager will receive recognition

  • Desire to receive credit or praise that may go to someone else.

    Unwillingingness to share in joint successes with other office staff is short sighted and in the long run will cause the demise of the manager. When the entire office staff performs well and individuals excel, the department will be successful. A good manager should always take a little more than his/her share of the blame and less share of the credit.

  • There is never enough time available to train or cross-train someone

    Unless the manager's primary duties evolve around training, there will never seem to be enough hours in the day to fit in training. Especially if the manager gets too wrapped up in “doing” they will always feel they are too busy to train. Time must be taken to ensure that the office staff can perform newly delegated duties properly (ability), that they receive adequate instruction (training) and proper follow-up (monitoring)

Steps of Effective Delegation:

  1. Review all the tasks that you are responsible for and pick out the ones that can/should be done by others and organize them to be turned over. Usually, these will be the more routine tasks at the start but can be expanded later as the office employees prove their ability.
  2. Select the proper person working under you to do the job. This does not necessarily mean the most intelligent. It does mean selecting the person best suited to perform the tasks required. One of the most important attributes to look for is conscientiousness. Ability is important but can be learned while desire is more of a personality trait that an individual brings with him or her.
  3. Encourage, train and motivate the person to accept the assignment. Think in terms of helping yourself and your helper by developing status, prestige and initiative in the staff member.
  4. Explain the job fully, give it and the authority to accomplish it to your subordinate, then check to be sure that your instructions are completely understood. Tell the office employee the reason the job needs to be done. Use every communication tool at your disposal to explain the job itself; specify the results you expect. Question the office employee to be sure that you are fully understood; then (and only then) turn the task over to the office employee.
  5. Provide support, encourage independence, and help develop confidence.
  6. Keep supervisory control because, ultimately, proper execution of the job is your responsibility. It is standard procedure to maintain complete documentation on all activities under your direction. Never delegate away final responsibility along with the work.

By conscientiously applying the procedures outlined in these six steps, you will increase your value to your organization. You will increase your productivity, as well as, your office staff's. Ultimately, you will give yourself more time to manage, analysis and advise the dealer on financial matters pro-actively.

Cathy J. Scott is the President of Dynamic Results Consulting, Inc. and specializes in Fixed Operations and General Office Consulting for Automotive and RV Dealers across the country.





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