If you’d like to make your professional practice run more efficiently, here’s an approach that will do more than just save you precious time. It will minimize frustration, keep files moving ahead on schedule and deliver growth opportunity to both you and your team… stop taking back what you delegate!
Have you ever assigned something to someone in your office only to have them come back to you for further input or clarification? Or have you ever received a draft of a report that didn’t meet your standards? Most principals, partners and managers at law, architecture, accounting, consulting, medical and other professional practices will have had these experiences, some on a daily basis.
The good news is that you have some responsibility in this boomerang effect on the work you delegate. When it comes back to you incomplete or loaded with questions, instead of falling into old habits and taking back the assignment with an ‘I’ll get back to you on that’ or ‘leave it on my desk so I can review it later’, make it your job to coach the person that owns the task through the next steps, so that he or she can continue to own the assignment. Instead of getting information for them, ask how he or she would go about it, so you’ll have an active thinker in the problem solving process. Instead of reviewing the submission, ask first if he or she compared it against briefing notes or against a sample of a previous report that represents the standard that you’re looking for.
It can be a reflex to take back assignments when you’re the one that used to complete them. You’re good at it and you know what you want. But next time you feel the urge to do so, ask yourself. Is this the best use of my time? Will coaching my staff on these next steps help him or her on future assignments? Will it be a source of opportunity for both of us to stretch ourselves in our respective positions?