Published by fioreh on Fri, 10/17/2014 - 15:45
Without clearly defining a task, work can be completed below or above expectation. In both instances, resources are ineffectively used.
Effectively assigning tasks to Direct Reports is a challenge for Managers at any level. The goal is to ensure that the two people participating share the exact expectations on the end state and the path to get there.
Remember, the intent is for the Manager to set up the Direct Report for success – the completion of the task to expectation. The onus is always on the Manager to ensure there is clarity around expectations.
Here’s how you do it. First, align the work, then follow the steps in the world’s worst acronym, CPQQTRD.
Alignment before Assignment
This is the work of the Manager prior to the task assignment. Before assigning, the Manager must understand the nature of the work and how it fits in the work of her team.
Here, the Manager describes the “world” in which this task must be completed. It’s the “big picture” description. Clarity on context provides the Direct Report with a perspective that allows him to make better decisions around this task.
This is where the Manager describes her intent.
The Manager needs to be able to specify the exact quantities involved at the end state.
The Manager needs to articulate to what standard the end state needs to conform. It is the specification of what “good” or “complete” means in this assignment. Quality is the most challenging part of CPQQTRD to describe because often “good” is subjective.
The Manager must describe how time relates to the task. Avoid saying “as soon as you can” or “when you have time” unless you really don’t have a deadline; in which case, is it really a task?
Resources and Restrictions
The Manager adds value to task completion by providing the resources that the Direct Report needs to succeed, and by specifying any particular inflexible parameters on the work.
A task assignment is a two-way conversation.
Adapted from Ian Macdonald, Catherine Burke, Karl Stewart, Systems Leadership: Creating Positive Organisations, 2nd Ed, 2018