Sunday, October 12, 2008

How to Delegate

from "Hiram's Handbook"
by Bro. Wayne T. Adams
Grand Lodge of Maine

Delegation of authority and responsibility to accomplish limited tasks is the management principle which assures that all tasks, large and small, are accomplished according to plan. As Master of the Lodge, you must utilize, to the fullest extent, the manpower resources that are available to you: the inactive reserve, the sideliners and the first string.

“Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you” is that perfect timeless pirase that best describes the principle of Delegation. Ask a Brother to do a task; give him the necessary authority and resources to carry out his mission, make him responsible for its success and check with him frequently to insure that he is on the proper track. If he is proceeding according to plan, leave him alone. If he is not accomplishing the task, provide him with some assistance or find another person to carry the ball.

Here are some essential elements to remember when you delegate authority and responsibility to complete a task:

A. You can delegate authority but, you, as Master, are responsible for the final product. You can’t point the finger and say “but I asked him to do it”. The brethren on the sidelines will simply shake their heads. They know who is responsible and who didn’t tend to detail.

B. KISS “keep it short and simple” - Explain in simple terms what needs to be done. You might offer some helpful ideas, but respect their ability do the job. People resent being given a task and then being told exactly how to do it. Very soon they think, “If he wants to do this his way, he can do it”.

C. Discuss the project with those assigned to determine what manpower, materials and money are required to adequately complete the task. Each assignment requires resources. Some jobs cannot be completed without adequate tools. So make an agreement; provide the proper tools and set them to work.

D. Set realistic time limits for each phase of the assignment. You can’t expect major duties to be completed yesterday and you cannot allow the job to extend indefinitely. Remember that work expands to fill the available time. So be reasonable, yet firm, with the amount of time you allocate to a specific assignment. Human nature requires deadlines. Otherwise procrastination will leave you with last minute difficulties and possibly failure.

E. Check back often with those who have been delegated the task to ascertain their progress and/or problems that have been encountered. If you wait until the last day, you risk being caught short without enough time to complete the job properly.

F. Give public praise and recognition to all who have successfully completed their assignments, no matter how small the task. Everyone likes to be recognized for his contributions. Those who have received suitable recognition will soon volunteer again, and those who witnessed the praise being given will want a piece of the action. Remember, honey, not vinegar, will attract the worker bees.

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