Hello there! Firstly i just wanted to say i’m very excited to be writing on womenonbusiness.com. This will be my first post. I love debates and interactions, so if you have anything to say, about my style of writing to the points i have put across, feel free to comment!
so here we go….
Due to stereotypes and years of oppression, some women still have a difficult time being assertive without coming across too over-bearing at work. Moving over too much in the other direction, they often let themselves get walked over. Women have shown themselves to be as good as men when it comes down to getting work done. But even now, we can have a tough time getting stuff done by other people for us. If you are not happy with the quality or time delivery of work you are assigning to people who work for you, consider the following tips (they may seem simple – but you’d be suprised at how often they are overlooked!):
- When you give somebody an assignment, be as clear as possible as to what you expect back. An example of a similar document is necessary for something that the worker has never produced for you before.
- Specify when you want to see the outline, the draft, and the final copy. Make sure you get buy in from the other person on whether they can make those dates. Pulling dates out of the air is a good way to make sure stuff does not get done in time.
- Break down deliverables into small assignments. Depending on your relationship with the worker, you may want to see daily results at first until they can show themselves to be trustworthy with longer assignments.
- Do not push back delivery dates unless you believe that the person has a legitimate reason for not making their dates. Stress that you really need the documents when you and that person agreed on the delivery dates. Accept the work but make sure the person understands that the delivery is late and could impact other deliverables.
- Do not sweat the small stuff. While everything delivered needs to meet quality standards, consider that sometimes a product needs to be good enough. Just because somebody working for you does not word a document exactly how you would document it, does not mean that you need to send it back with edits. As long as the document generally says what it needs to, let it be.
- Regarding small edits, just do them yourself. It will take longer for you to write down what you need to be done and communicate what you need to be done then if you just did them yourself. Do a comparison for yourself until you get the hang of what you need to push back and what you should just do yourself.
- Regarding status updates, a weekly meeting is fine and quick morning conference call are acceptable as well. If you are already talking to the person on a daily basis, there is no reason to send out additional status emails other than to follow through on a conversation. What ends up happening is that people end up having more meetings and phone calls and emails about doing work than actually doing work.
- Following through on meetings and phone calls is a very good way to get others to realize that you are serious about getting stuff done. For example, you could send out a reminder after the meeting, “Per our morning meeting or conference call, you stated that you are XX percent done with the draft and plan to provide me with a final copy by the end of business today. If this is not your understanding or anything comes up that may impact our schedule, please let me know.”
- If you are concerned that your work is not getting the priority it needs or deserves, do a walk-by. Too many people in management positions build an imaginary wall between themselves and the people who work for them. You might want to limit how many drinks you have with them after work, but certainly get comfortable with walking around and physically checking up on people, especially when they do not expect it. Do not make this a scheduled routine. Vary your visit times. Don’t make it look official, more like a “checking to see how you’re doing” type thing.
- Check the status of documents first thing in the morning and before you leave at night if you were expecting deliverables. If you do not receive what you were expecting, send out a quick email following through. Do not threaten. Just persist. Persistence is usually enough to make people feel uncomfortable when they are sitting on a deliverable.
I hope that you will see that while it takes more work up front to be assertive when delegating work, it will pay off when deadlines come around.
Kathy Breitenbucher says
Great points! I would add that my best boss (who happened to be a woman!) let me do the project my way as long as the results she needed were met. I felt empowered, could go to her when I got stuck or made a mistake, and we worked really well together.