TZL 1480 (web)



A delegation process that works

Delegating is one of the best ways for senior staff to train and transition responsibility to junior staff, but many leaders find it challenging. There’s a better way.

D elegating work is difficult for many, and leads to a unique frustration for people at all levels of an organization. Junior staff often want more responsibility and may need training before they are able to take over new tasks. Senior staff feel the pressure of having too much to do in too little time and often feel training someone else will take more time than they have to offer (and, more importantly, will take longer than if they just did it themselves). An article by Colonel Archer J. Lerch that was published in the January 29, 1942 issue of the Army and Navy Journal does much to lay out a path toward solving this conundrum, and was introduced to me as a young EIT. I have since come to use its precepts when training new EITs myself.

Megan Chang, P.E.

This algorithm forces a number of things to happen, the first of which is that senior staff must delegate a task/problem. When receiving the task/problem, the junior staff should ask questions to ensure they know what the senior staff wants, but after that, they are to work on the solution independently of the senior staff who delegated the work. Note I didn’t say they need to work in a silo, but that they should use their connections with other staff members (peers),

“The Doctrine of Completed Staff Work” can be used as an algorithm for how to study a problem and present a solution. The algorithm is simple: upon being given a problem, the receiver’s job is to study it and present a solution (or solutions) in such a form that all that remains to be done on the part of the assigner is to indicate their approval or disapproval of the completed action. In some instances, it may be appropriate to submit a rough draft, but the rough draft may not be a half-baked idea; it needs to be sound.

See MEGAN CHANG , page 10


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