Friday, August 23, 2013

Delegation for New Medical Practice Managers (or Managers Who Struggle with Delegating Tasks)

Medical Office Delegation
Many medical practice managers have difficulty in giving up or delegating projects because they’ve advanced their careers by doing everything themselves. They learned early on not to ask others to do their work for fear of being called a lazy employee...or someone who tried to push work on others.

Now that you are a manager, you need to delegate tasks. But, how do you learn to delegate if you’ve never had the experience?

Managers have a tendency to say, “So-and-so can’t do the task as well as I can!” or “It will take me longer to explain the project to so-and-so then it will take me to finish the task!” And that is most likely true. Delegation can seem to be more of a hassle than a benefit. But if the employee can do the task at 80% or 90% of what you can accomplish, you’ve freed up your time to work on another project. Remember that successful and perfect are not synonymous.

You can expand the volume of work you can deliver if you delegate effectively. You can then spend your time on another project, possibly one with higher priority or higher visibility -- one that needs your expertise and veteran status.

First, you need to pick the right tasks to delegate, then you need to formulate your plan for delegation. You then need to choose the right person (people) to delegate to.

Involving others in a project also help to develop those employee’s abilities and skills. Next time, you’ll have an easier time delegating to the employee...and you’ll have more confidence in their ability to do the task.

State your expectations clearly regarding the project and assign a deadline right away. Without a clear deadline or expectation there is ambiguity...and it is difficult to hold the employee accountable.

Focus on the results. Keep a line of communication open with deadlines associated with updates. Watch out for “upward delegation” where the employee may pitch the project back at you. Ask for suggestions or ways to keep the project moving forward. Don’t provide all of the answers.

If your expectations are realistic, and you are clear and succinct in your directions, the employee will most likely complete the task. And you will be more confident with the next task you assign. Start with smallish projects and build on that. You will be surprised how quickly you’ll master the process of delegation.

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photo credit: SalFalko via photopin cc