Friday, August 21, 2009

Three Keys to Prioritizing and Delegating

Some managers find two critical elements of management to be quite challenging -- knowing how to prioritize the work and knowing when to delegate.

Some managers become overwhelmed by the volume of issues they must address in a normal work day. They have difficulty determining the important from the unimportant, the urgent from the non-urgent. Then, once having established the priority of the tasks, they then have a hard time knowing whether the tasks should be delegated to others.

Here are three key questions you can ask yourself to determine the priority of a task and whether or not it can be delegated to someone else.

First, you need to ask yourself: Do I need to be personally involved because of my authority, skills, knowledge or perspective? Are you the only one who can perform the task because no one else has the skills, knowledge or ability to do it without your involvement?

Next, ask yourself: Does the task fall within my primary responsibility and/or does it significantly affect the financial performance of my work unit? Is this a task you should be doing because it IS your job? If you didn’t work on this task, could it significantly harm your company’s or your department’s bottom line?

Finally, ask yourself: Is a rapid response necessary? Could there be a serious negative consequence if you don’t address this task immediately? If you delayed your effort or did nothing at all, what would happen?

Once you’ve answered these three question you can determine the priority for the task using the following guidelines:

The task is a high priority if you answered “yes” to all three questions.

If you answered “yes” to question one — you need to be personally involved — plus a “yes” to either question two or question three, the task is a medium priority.

The task is a low priority if you answered “yes” to question one, but “no” to questions two and three.

Knowing when to delegate a task is simple. If you answered “no” to the first question — you don’t need to be personally involved — obviously you shouldn’t be involved. Delegate the task.

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