Articles and Resources - Performance Management

Teach Your Staff How to Fish Through Delegation

Peter is pressed for time and needs to get three tasks done by the end of the day, but there is only time for two. How can he meet the deadlines without working double time? Delegation is the answer.

When I spoke to several Managers, many said that they don't want to delegate because they can do a task faster themselves, rather than teach someone else how to do.  However, a question to ask, "Is it critical that you do the task?" Some Managers enjoy doing that task and don’t want to give it away. Does that sound familiar? On the other hand, once we invest our time to train the employees, they are set for success. 

Keep in mind that we want to delegate the task – not dump something that we don’t want to do. The aim is to help them learn and develop their competencies. 

The following are 10 tips on how to teach employees to fish through delegation.

  1. Delegate to the lowest level possible. The folks who are nearest to the task will be best suited for the work. They will have the most knowledge and day-to-day details of the job. If we delegate too high up, the task could be redelegated, which is not desirable.
  2. Include them in the delegation process. Make an announcement to the staff. "We need someone to do the monthly activity report. Who can help out?"  Empower them to be part of the decision making process. People who put their name forward will be more committed to the task.
  3. Ensure that the person has the proper information, access to resources and capable of doing the task.
  4. Make the expectations clear. As I mention in my workshops, the number reason why people fail is because of unclear expectations. Explain what needs to be done, why it needs to be done and the expected completion time. Let them determine how best to do the task. After all, our way may not always be the best way. Delegation helps to develop trust. Ask them to explain to you their understanding of the task or confirm by e-mail. By confirming the expected results, there is a clear understanding of what needs to happen. Set up time frames for checking in and monitoring. Provide support, if they need it. But please – no hovering!
  5. Match the task with the responsibility. You can delegate the responsibility, but the ultimate accountability will default to you. The buck stops with you!
  6. Step back and let them do the work. Be prepared to answer questions and to make some adjustments, as necessary. Please – no micromanaging!
  7. Avoid upward delegation. If there is an issue, brainstorm solutions with them and don't be tempted to take the task back. By solving their own problems, they will develop confidence and problem solving skills.
  8. Discuss how success will be rewarded such as future opportunities, financial reward and recognition. Give them credit for the good work.
  9. If something goes wrong, the delegator will take ultimate responsibility. There is no scapegoat. What can both of you learn from the experience and how can it be corrected in the future?
  10. Review the outcome and results. What did they accomplish? How did it meet the expectations? 

Through delegation, Managers will teach their staff how to fish and feed themselves, rather than coming to you for food. Managers will save time, get tasks done and develop staff all at the same time.

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." - Mainonides



5+ Ways to Prioritize and Get More Done

Are you too busy?  Stretching to meet deadlines?  Short on time?  The most effective way to find more time and increase performance is to prioritize tasks. We need to make conscious choices as to where we spend our time.  It comes down to focus on the most critical tasks to completion.  It is not the number tasks that we have started, but what has been completed that counts.  

Here are 5+ ways to make it happen:

  1. List what needs to be done.  Write it down so it is in front of you.  A physical reminder of the tasks is a constant reminder that they need to be completed.
  2. Prioritize the tasks beginning with the most urgent and important ones. Urgent tasks are usually brought to you by someone else, which may throw off your priorities. Consider if the urgent task fits with your long term goals. Rely on your instincts.  Urgent tasks are often a crisis situation that cannot be diverted.  Afterwards, go to important tasks such as planning and relationship building.  These important tasks can give us more rewards over the longer term.
  3. Begin with a task that will give you the most value or financial payback.  If there is a client with potentially more major contracts, give them immediate attention whereas a client who you rarely see will get a lower priority. Provide each client with your best work but at different priority levels.
  4. Unplanned tasks usually involve quick decisions and we often don't have time to fully analyze the situation.  Work on the task if it takes less than five minutes.  More time demanding tasks will go on the priority list.
  5. Some task priority considerations are:
  • Can it be delegated or eliminated? Remember that when we delegate a task, it is meant to help another person grow, rather than dumping the tasks that we don't want to do.
  • Can it be eliminated? I used to prepare a monthly report but no one ever asked questions about it.  One month, I decided not to submit it. Three months later, someone inquired about the report. As it turned out, they wanted to have a report on file in case there was a question from their superiors.  
  • Can it be combined with another job? For example, can I clean out the stock room and take inventory at the same time?
  • What is the deadline? Immediate deadlines require immediate attention, while longer term deadlines can give you some breathing space.
  • How much time will the task take? If the task takes 30 minutes, we could fit it into most schedules, while a full day task needs a block of time.
  • Is someone else depending on this task to get their work done?  If our staff need some figures to complete the budget, our uncooperative methods will impact an entire process.
  • Is there pressure from the next level up? If it is, we are on their radar and cooperation is a good idea!
  • What are the consequences if the task is not done today?  If there are none - then we can delay it, but if it will get us into trouble, it is time to do it.
  • What are the long term consequences? If there are serious consequences, then it needs to go to the top of the list.
  • Will anyone notice if it is not done this day? If I can get by today, then I have bought myself some time.

By carefully analyzing each task and placing it in the right place on the priority list, we can get the right things done, at the right time, and for the right reasons.

For dozens of more ways to save time and get more done, attend Helen's Time Management Essentials workshop.



Develop Your Management Skills: How to Give Positive Feedback

A question was asked to a group of managers in a training workshop, "In what circumstances should you give positive feedback to your employees, co-workers or clients?" The responses were, "When they have met a major deadline or learned a new task. We also need to provide feedback when a behaviour or positive performance requires reinforcement." Keep mind that we need to recognize the efforts of the hard working, good solid performers. These are the folks that come to work and do their very best, day after day, week after week, and month after month. 

In a coaching role, some people may be uncomfortable with providing feedback, while others are uncomfortable with receiving it.  They just shrug their shoulders and say, “It was part of my job,” and keep their noses to the grindstone.

These are two main steps to follow when giving positive feedback.

1. Statement of Behavior  (What did they do?)

This is an objective, concrete and precise statement of the work done by the person. What did they do that has caught your attention, in a good way?

2. Impact  (So what?)

This is a brief description of the impact or benefit of their behavior to the other employees, team, organization or client.  


The progress report that you completed was accurate, well presented and completed on time. It made our team look professional and our organization came across as efficient. The client was happy with the results.


Think of one person in your organization that you want to give positive feedback to. Who is the person? What is the behavior statement? What is the impact?

The next step is to share it with the individual. Some people prefer not to say it directly to the person. Here’s a suggestion. Instead, make the object (what they did well) the subject of the positive feedback. Say, "This report is sick, it was very well done, made our team look professional and gave a positive reflection of our unit."

By giving positive feedback, you will be acknowledging the good work performed and motivating them to continue onward. As a management training skills expert, I have experienced many situations in which positive feedback increases job satisfaction and production, and a better use of organizational resources.



7 Tips to Clarify Expectations of Your Team

Develop your Management Training Skills – Why Many Managers Fail

Do you know the number one reason why people and teams fail? You have delegated a task to an employee and expect it to be done. Or maybe it’s a chore around the house. It doesn’t make a difference if it involves the preparation of a major report or washing a car by an 8 year old child, there are some fundamentals in how the request needs to be made, according to a management expert and trainer.

As a manager, you have an objective and work plan to achieve the desired results. Your management training skills are probably telling you that delegating is one of the biggest keys to success. So, the tasks are delegated to competent, well-meaning employees, but sometimes the work does not get done according to standard, or maybe not at all. So what went wrong? Could it be in the asking?

According to seasoned managers, the reason why employees fail is due to unclear expectations. The individual or team member merely does not understand fully what needs to be done. Right at the onset, agreement of the expectations must take place. When they accept the work, it means that they understand what needs to be done, how to do it and when it needs to be completed.   

Develop Your Management Training Skills – 7 Steps to Setting Expectations

The following are 7 ways to make your expectations crystal clear with specific questions to ask yourself, by a management expert and trainer.  Additionally, the use of RAPPORT will strengthen the working relationship between yourself and the employee.

  1. Relevant – Is this work relevant to them? Is it important? Would they want to do the work?
  2. Agreed – Has the employee agreed to do the work or meet the goal? Is it a reasonable request?
  3. Precise – Specifically, what needs to be done? Why does it need to be done? In delivering management training, I have discovered that managers often assume that their staff understand the task. While in reality, this is not always true. An explanation of the task will give them a deeper understanding of how it fits into the bigger picture, and how their part fits in. Also, if there is a specific order of the tasks, you need to explain it.  
  4. Pertinent - Is it within their authority? Will they require additional resources, training or support?  
  5. Outcome – How will you know when the job is done properly? What will the outcome look like? What elements will be displayed in the spread sheet? What will the washed vehicle look like?
  6. Realistic – Is this the right person for the job? Is it within their job description? Is someone else better qualified? Do they have the time to fit it in with their other tasks?
  7. Timing – When does this task need to be completed? What is the deadline? Will there be checkpoints along the way? Clarification is needed to ensure that the person knows exactly the timing expectations. For example, close of business by Friday, May 20, 20xx. When working with longer projects, request ongoing progress reports on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. This helps you keep on top of the issues and ensures that the project stays on track.

As a management training skills expert, I know that one of the cardinal rules is to clarify, clarify, clarify. Ask the employee to state in their own words their task. Confirm with an e-mail. When the expectations are clear at the onset, then everyone understands what needs to be done. Your job is easy!


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