Management Skills – Practicing Effective Delegation for Success

Delegating authority at work is a management skill that requires understanding and practice in order to be successful for everyone involved.

An experienced manager understands effective delegation and uses it regularly as part of his repertoire of management skills. He recognizes that there are only certain tasks in his own job description that can be delegated. His bottom line accountability cannot be delegated; that’s what he gets paid to do. Job responsibilities have to be accepted or not by whoever is doing the job. All the manager can delegate is the authority to do certain work. This authority is defined as the ‘power to influence the behavior of others.’ This is what the employee needs if the manager is going to delegate for success.

Steps for Effective Delegation

When a manager decides he is going to delegate one of the tasks for which he is responsible and will be held accountable, he will want to do it as effectively as possible. The following guidelines will help the manager practice delegating successfully.

  • Choose the most appropriate staff for the work to be delegated. If this is to be a successful exercise, the employee must have the experience or obvious potential, and motivation to do the work. Delegation is not about the manager ‘getting rid of’ a tedious task. It is about the manager giving an opportunity to one of the staff to demonstrate his ability to work beyond his current responsibilities.
  • State clearly the objectives and expected results of the job being delegated. The task, for example, might be conducting an inventory of all computers and peripherals in the headquarters office and all branches in the city. The expected result is a spreadsheet listing the computers, printers, scanner, etc., categorized by location, size, brand, serial number, age of equipment, and primary user.
  • Ensure that the employee understands and accepts the nature and scope of the job and agrees to its objectives. For any job of significance, it is best to write down the scope of the plan and review it with the employee to ensure that he is actually willing to assume this responsibility. This is important as work that is delegated by a manager from his own workload is typically work that is not in the employee’s job description.
  • Identify the resources that are available to do the work. This might include support personnel, materials, and money. For example, there might be four staff available for three days to do this inventory. They will receive the usual per diem expenses for working outside their office and will have corporate laptops on which to record their findings.
  • Working with the employee, develop a work plan with timelines for benchmark results, regular updates, and whatever else is appropriate given the scope, duration, and importance of the job. For example, this entire project from the beginning with planning who is doing what to designing the spreadsheet, doing the inventory, collecting data and presenting it might be two weeks.
  • Allow the employee to work on his own, as far as possible. This should be an exercise in support and coaching, but not watching over the employee’s shoulder all the time. The manager should be accessible, as needed if there are unexpected problems.
  • Monitor progress to make sure it complies with the schedule and resources. For the inventory example, the manager might want to see the spreadsheet design, make sure the right people are in place, and review a draft document before the final submission.

Benefits of Delegating Effectively

Effective, appropriate delegation is a powerful learning opportunity for an employee who is eager to prove his abilities and value to the organization. The delegation has many benefits for the people involved.

  • This first-hand experience with a task that would not typically be part of his job description looks good on the employee’s resume.
  • This opportunity allows the employee to have a taste of management authority and responsibility to see if he likes it.
  • This experience might encourage the employee to decide to prepare himself to move into management.
  • Other employees see that the manager is willing to take the risk of having a subordinate lead a work group to accomplish a task for which the manager himself is accountable. That is a powerful message of staff support and nurturing in an often-competitive work environment.
  • There is no avoiding the benefit for the manager too. Yes, the manager does have ‘extra’ time available for him to focus on other responsibilities. However, it is not completely free time as effective delegation requires monitoring and support.

Delegation is an important, probably essential management skill. The effectiveness and success of his delegation is a measure of a manager’s competency and his overall approach to leadership.

The Difference Between Leadership and Management

The Difference Between Leadership and Management

Management and leadership are two words in the business world, which are often used interchangeably. Whilst a person operating at a sufficiently senior level within an organisation will often be required to exhibit both qualities. The fact remains that leadership and management should be considered as two distinctive subjects, despite the understanding that they are often indivisibly linked.

What is Management?

The Difference Between Leadership and Management - managerCommon definitions of management consider that the task of management includes the planning, controlling and execution of processes and tasks within an organisation. As such, the consideration is that management is largely an organisational skill, based around the organisation of resources.

Typically management is seen as task and skill set, which is aimed at maintaining the status quo within an organisation. As such, the functions of management are often associated with target setting, budgeting and other activities which facilitate control.

What is Leadership?

The Difference Between Leadership and Management - leaderLeadership on the other hand, is usually associated with the specific management of people. This however, is a little blunt for a definition and limits the scope of the concept of leadership somewhat. A wider and more appropriate definition of leadership would be to consider that leadership is the general advocacy of a direction or vision within an organisation.

As such, leadership is associated, not with the specific instructions and controls linked to management. Instead, leadership involves the inspiration and motivation of groups and individuals within an organisation, with the aim of allowing those groups and individuals to bring about the desired vision of the leader.

What is the Difference Between Leadership and Management?

An often overly simplified distinction between the tasks of leadership and management is to consider that management applies to “things” whilst, leadership applies to people. However, this is to over simplify the distinction and misses the point somewhat.

A better analysis would be to consider that management is a skill based around the organisation of both people and resources, in order to maintain current processes and practises, or at achieve a specific predetermined outcome. On the other hand, leadership is concerned with the provision of communications, inspiration and motivation to enable people and resources to create change within an organisation.

Why Engaged Employees Produce Quality

Why Engaged Employees Produce QualityStructuring, organizing, managing and other practices of a mechanistic organization will not facilitate quality. Thinking and doing are now part of everyone’s job. Each person in an organization today must be enabled to ensure that the quality of products and services are continually improved.

Why Engaged Employees Produce Quality

engaged employees nurture relationships with customers

  • Employees drive business success in the following ways:
  • They find opportunities to translate customer needs and expectations into products and services that drive increased revenue.
  • They nurture relationships with customers and take personal responsibility for meeting their needs and expectations.
  • They work with suppliers as partners and ensure that communication is clear and timely.
  • They use quality tools to continuously improve their products and services.
  • They maintain and improve their processes with a sense of ownership because the product/service is a reflection of their personal standards.

Engaging employees begins with a willingness on the part of management to:

  • Give others responsibility.
  • Delegate and accept responsibility for quality.
  • Develop teams and teamwork.
  • Train managers how to communicate with and provide productive feedback to people.
  • Train non-managers how to accept responsibility.
  • Train non-managers how to develop teams and teamwork.
  • Provide an organizing structure and culture that supports quality and its improvement.

For people to be engaged they need to understand the business operation and how to make quality decisions. They need to understand the impact of their decisions on the organization so training in things like accounting and finance principles, statistical tools, and relevant technical training is essential in order for them to be effective.

Creating a Culture of Quality

Given what culture is and what culture does, it is understandable why a quality culture would be essential to an organization with a commitment to quality. If the culture is not quality-focused, then the organization is unlikely to realize the benefits from quality. Having a quality program and being truly focused on quality is fundamentally different. Many estimate that only one in three companies who have a quality program realize a significant gain in competitive advantage.

Ten Ways Servant Leaders Create a Culture for Quality Improvement

engaged employees nurture relationships coworkers - teamwork

Building this culture of quality starts with leaders who:

  1. Understand and communicate the meaning and aim of the system and how each person’s work aligns with and supports this aim.
  2. Help those they serve to understand their relationship with the system.
  3. Create opportunities for those they serve to get joy from their work.
  4. Act as a coach and counsel, not a judge to those they serve.
  5. Apply knowledge of the theory of variation for improved performance.
  6. Study the causes and effects of their performance toward continually improving quality.
  7. Create trust.
  8. Encourage creativity and innovation.
  9. Surprisingly do not expect perfection.
  10. Are open to others’ influence.

Should I start my own small business?

Well, should you start a small(ish) business? If you’re where I was in the year 2000  then the answer is definitely yes. I was doing a job that I didn’t enjoy and I wanted out. Strangely, in those days I was being paid quite well and got promoted regularly but it just wasn’t what I wanted to do, and I had always the ambition to be working in my own business.  So here was my carefully planned exit strategy – I went home at the end of 2000 for the holidays, decided I couldn’t stand working there for another year and I handed in my notice at the beginning of 2001. Now what?

But what type of business should I start?

After deciding that you want to start a business, you need to decide on what kind of business you would start. I had developed an interest in computers and the internet (actually, the World Wide Web) was fairly new and exciting, so I decided to start up a web design business. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I was really setting up a digital agency that provided web design, development and hosting, search engine optimization and website usability services, but I knew so little about it that I had no idea what would be involved at the outset.

Where would I find my first customers?

With my new business cards and stationery printed, I was ready to go. But go where? It became apparent very quickly that I was all dressed up with nowhere to go. Where and who were my customers? When I had borrowed some money from my bank to start the business they asked me about this and, although I had told them what they wanted to hear, I actually had no idea how to go about this. I wrote letters to business owners with vague information about the services I could offer – I didn’t want to miss any opportunities by being too specific (yes, big mistake) – and followed these letters up with phone calls. I got some appointments but generally, the people I met with didn’t show me much respect since they saw me as a salesman who had cold-called them to get an appointment. Some business came from this but not much. Up to this point, I had been feeling a bit isolated and, because I had no-one to discuss things with, I become a bit fearful since all the problems finding customers were starting to build up in my head. Making a deal with a startup marketing agency would be the best choice for creating systems that are predictable and repeatable for attracting customers at a profit. Although, it takes some time to develop successful marketing systems that are adaptable to the ever-changing business environment .

In business it’s not what you know, it’s who you know

The turning point really came when I was approached to join a business networking group.  Initially, I wasn’t interested in doing this since I believed they would want me to hand over a list of all my friends, relatives and business contacts so the other members could bombard them with sales calls. However, the reality was very different. I had been a member of a local chamber of commerce from the beginning and believed that this was business networking, but the people at the chamber meetings (including me) didn’t seem to know why they were there. The meetings of this business networking group were focused on members supporting each other, providing qualified business referrals where the prospective customer was actually looking forward to your call. Now I was on my way properly.  I wished I had done this much sooner.

Should you quit your job to start your small business?

When times were hard I used to wish I hadn’t quit my job to start my business, but rather have started it in my spare time and built it up to the point where the income was sufficient for me to quit. However, I don’t think that would have worked for me because unless you are highly motivated (I think I am, but I’m usually not) it’s very difficult to keep doing what it takes to find new business while you are receiving a comfortable salary and you may not see it through. Also, a full-time job has pressures of its own and it can make you resent your business so that you avoid doing any work in it since it becomes just another hassle in your day.

It’s hard to run a business part-time while you have a day job

I’ve got some evidence to support this now since a few years ago my old employers approached me to see if I’d like to come back after four years of self-employment. I figured that I could go back and try not to get too involved so that I would have a regular salary and still run my business on the side. On the plus side, the regular salary meant I didn’t have to take on projects that I didn’t want since I already had some regular income. On the minus side, your employer usually wants their money’s worth from you and I found that over a few years my self-employment activity dwindled to almost nothing. This is why I believe that if I hadn’t quit my job initially I would never have got the business going; it’s very difficult to do uncomfortable things while you are living comfortably.

Again, should I start my own business?

The answer to this question is definitely yes. While I was totally self-employed in my own business I was anxious a lot of the time about finding customers, satisfying customers and making a living but not once in four years did I ever feel depressed or even unhappy. I can’t say that about any other job I’ve had. Should you quit your job to start your business? Almost certainly not! Knowing what I know now, I would have kept my job, joined the business networking organization (most of their meetings are finished by 8.30am), hired a qualified and experienced agency for digital marketing and build up my customer base that way. Would it have been hard to do while still in a job? Yes, but with a proper business plan (there’s an idea) I could have gradually built up the business to the point where I could leave my job safely. The key lesson for me – it’s not what you know it’s who you know.

Optometrist vs Ophthalmologist – What’s the difference?

optometrist and ophthalmologist difference
A lot of people have no idea about the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist.

These two terms both refer to medical professionals who specialize in eye health but these two are very different. It has been a common mistake for people to find themselves in the wrong office because of the lack of knowledge between the two.

There are a number of people who just go to any one of the two because they think that there is only one type of eye doctor and this is where they are wrong. Optometrists and ophthalmologists have different functions and everyone should know the difference.

An optometrist is an eye doctor that specializes in vision.  An optometrist finished the study of optometry that studies everything that deals with vision. These doctors are the doctors that a person should look for when a person wants to correct his or her vision.

Anything that is vision related that does not require surgery can be done by an optometrist. Optometrists can prescribe contact lenses and glasses with a certain grade to help a person have better eyesight, including weekly contact lenses.

optometrist and ophthalmologist difference - eye doctors

Ophthalmologists are doctors of medicine who studied about a person’s eyes as a specialty. This branch of medicine is called ophthalmology and the doctors who finish this specialty are allowed to diagnose eye diseases and they are even allowed to perform surgery if the extent of the eye damage or disease requires surgery.

One way for a person to get better eyesight is with the help of laser surgery. Though it has something to do with vision, an ophthalmologist is the ideal person to do the job because it is related to surgery. Only ophthalmologists are allowed to do surgery so if a person feels eye pain of any sort an ophthalmologist is the person for the job.

However, ophthalmologists can also prescribe prescription eyewear. To protect the eyes from further damage, they often prescribe disposable contact lenses with UV protection.

But both doctors normally work together to make sure that the laser surgery goes perfectly.

Management Consultants Will Help Organizations Grow

Boardroom - PDM Photography

Management consultants are a tremendous asset for the development of growth, vision, strategy and personnel. Experienced consultants will help any organization.

Organizations and businesses cut jobs and downsized, creating lean management structures. Emerging from financial problems, corporations are now faced with growing business as the economy slowly returns. What is lacking is the experience and business savvy usually supplied by senior staff that are no longer with the organization.

Vision Means Growth

Shifting from a financial control model to a growth model requires vision and investment. Organizations are faced with decisions of expanding internally or engaging outside services (outsourcing) to help.

Internal Options:

Investment is financial commitment and comes in several forms. Increasing staff and bringing on new personnel to help realize sales goals. Adding support staff in order to help manage infrastructure problems created by growth. These may be in areas such as logistics, billing, procurement and human resources.

Vision requires strategy and planning. Executive management needs to shift from a cost containment mode to an expansion mode. Having a plan is an absolute must if the moves are to be successful and profitable. Waste is not an option for lean organizations.

External Options:

Management support brought in on a contract basis (management consultants) come in many forms. Their expertise comes in the form of knowledge, experience and ability to provide leadership for an organization that is engaging in growing its business.

Five Key Areas:

Strategic Planning

Most corporations have some type of strategic plan. It may be for three years or five years and account for growth, sales goals, production goals and even staff increases. It may be a great plan, realistic and rich with goals to hit. Where the plan usually fails is in the implantation. By implementation, that means who knows what is in the plan. It does not do any good if only the executive team knows what the plan is, they won’t be the ones implementing the steps needed to achieve the goals. A good consultant can help direct the development of a plan.

Process Improvement

Every corporation has flaws in the way it goes about handling internal procedures and processes. Most organizations can identify numerous processes that take too long to accomplish, slowing down how the organization conducts business. It might be a work order process, an invoicing process, a process required of sales in order to generate a purchase order. I may even be in workload distribution with one area controlling too much and subsequently being overtaxed in turn around. A good consultant can help the organization by facilitating a focused approach to change in how business is conducted. Involvement of staff is critical to any change if they are engaged things will improve, left out and not much will occur. Results oriented consulting addresses this core issue and can steer the group towards “their” improvement of the process (and bottom line).

Personnel Training

Perhaps the most neglected area of any organization, the development of its personnel. Many managers achieved their positions and then were left struggling to figure out how to manage their area. Good workers do not make good managers out of the gate. They have a lot to learn about leading versus doing. A good consultant can be of valuable assistance in this area. People will open up to a complete stranger that they do not perceive as a threat to their position since they are not connected to any hierarchy within the organization. Having a coach with experience will make the transition from employee to manager much smoother than letting the manager “figure it out” on their own. The real benefit is that results will happen faster.

Leadership Development

People become leaders; they are not gifted with some magical gene. Certain characteristics are helpful, but learning how to be a leader takes time. An experienced leadership consultant can accelerate the process and be instrumental in the growth of leadership within an organization. Drawing on their experience and past successes, a consultant will guide a new leader through the process and best practices for achieving true leadership. Again, the results are rewarding to the organization, usually in terms of employee satisfaction, improved performance results, and finally improved bottom lines.

Financial Analysis

Seasoned business consultants have as one of their “tools” financial experience at some level. It may be in the area of accounting or operational P&L management. Financial reporting is one of the most structured functions of business, usually with oversight and advice from an outside Accounting Firm skilled in the preparation of financial documents such as taxes, loan applications and such. A good financial accountant can help tie financial performance back to operations and find flaws in how business is being done that is costing money. Operational financial analysis requires knowledge of how products or services generate income.

Good Businesses Keep Looking

Any organization that seeks to grow will benefit from the services of an outside consultant that has had experience and success.

5 Essential Qualities of an Effective Board Member

5 Essential Qualities of an Effective Board Member
A solid board consists of great and qualified board members. It is the qualities of each individual board member that determines whether or not a board can operate successfully.  But what makes a person fit to sit as a member of a healthcare organization’s board of directors?

Here are the critical qualities of an effective board member:

1. Dedicated and Committed

Being a board member requires a high level of dedication and commitment to responsibilities that extends beyond attending board meetings regularly. Effective board members bring a lot to the table and maintain and unwavering interest to the achieve the goals of the organization.

2. Able to lead and influence others

An excellent member of the board has the ability to lead and influence others to pursue the goals of the organization. He or she has the spirit and drive to set direction in order to fulfill the institution’s business goals.

3. Straightforward and impartial

An effective board member brings candor to board meetings. He is able to engage other board members in discussions and debates without being arrogant or disrespectful. He is objective and impartial and has the ability to the effectively drive a point across without making things personal. A good member of the board will not hesitate to ask the hard questions for the constituents that the board servess

4. Knowledgeable and an insatiable learner

A member of the board should be knowledgeable about the organization and its culture, operations, mission, and vision, the roles and responsibilities of the board as well as the principles of good governance. Aside from that, he or she has an insatiable desire to learn and seek personal and professional development.

5. Values discretion and confidentiality

Trustworthiness is an essential trait of a board member. Board discussions and meetings are confidential and each member should be able to manifest discretion at all times. He or she should always support the decision of the board when speaking in behalf of the organization.

Principles and Best Practices for Effective Governance

  • Governance principles provide an objective basis to establish a board’s role, structure, composition and working processes.
  • Nine sample principles provide a basis for your board to customize its principles.
  • By implementing best practices associated with each principle, a board can improve its effectiveness.

The trustees of one health system were divided over how to structure the board. Some favored proportional representation from its acute care, nursing home, and elder services divisions; others wanted all at-large members with no interests to promote.

CEO leads everyone by exampleThe CEO of another health system had restructured, so facility executives were directly accountable to corporate management for finances and operations. He wanted local boards to focus on strategic direction and oversight of quality, but local boards continued monthly monitoring of finances as they’d always done. Some trustees wondered what their role was.

At a third health system, a new trustee was surprised to learn the organization had no strategic plan — at least not one that identified major initiatives and set measurable performance goals, the kind he’d developed as a successful corporate executive.

So, he interviewed the vice president for planning, drafted a strategic plan and brought it to the planning committee — to the CEO’s surprise. The CEO was upset the new trustee was meddling in management. These situations share a common cause: unclear expectations of the board’s role.

Developing Governance Principles

No team can operate at optimal effectiveness unless each member knows his or her job and all members share common expectations of how they should work together. To build shared expectations, boards can discuss and adopt a written set of governance principles that define the roles, structures, composition and processes that enable the board to add value to the organization through its work.

A governance principle is a statement of the desired governance attribute or behavior that guides board work and decisions. Governance principles can help a board resolve differences and improve performance.

Governance principles aren’t one size fits all. Individual boards will benefit from developing their principles through a participative process that is enlightening and unifying. The principles also provide a basis for a board to agree on practices that apply the principles to the board’s roles, structure, composition, and work.

Nine Sample Principles

As a starting point for discussion, here are nine governance principles that are associated with effective board performance. Each principle is followed by illustrative practices.

1. Accountability

The board understands its accountability to see that the organization acts in the best interests of the “stakeholders” who it serves such as patients and the community. Board members bring perspectives and knowledge from outside endeavors, but they don’t “represent” single constituencies. The board acts with diligence & objectivity on behalf of the stakeholders as a whole.

 

Sample Best Practices

  • Written governance principles
  • Periodic discussion of primary stakeholders and their needs

2. Responsibility

To govern (and not manage, which is the CEO’s job), the board focuses its work on six major responsibilities:

  • Define the ends, policies, and goals of the organizations, beginning with the mission, vision, values and strategic plan
  • Make and support decisions that advance the ends • Select the CEO, establish goals & expectations for the CEO and organization, evaluate his or her performance and establish appropriate compensation
  • Monitor organizational performance and exercise accountability for results, especially in the areas of mission effectiveness, financial stewardship, strategic direction, quality of care and customer service
  • Use influence with key internal and external constituencies to advance the mission and vision
  • Take responsibility for the board’s effectiveness.

 

Sample Best Practices

  • Written position descriptions for trustees, board chairperson and committee chairpersons
  • Explicit process for CEO goal-setting, evaluation and compensation review

 

3. Exemplary Conduct

Directors exhibit trust and respect toward colleagues and management, honor the confidentiality of sensitive information and scrupulously observe the conflict of interest policy.

 

Sample Best Practices

  • Periodic board education and discussion of conflict of interest
  • Confidentiality policy
  • Code of conduct

 

4. Mission- and Vision-Driven

Board composition, structure, and work are designed to enhance the mission, vision, values and strategic direction of the organization.

 

Sample Best Practices

  • Board and committee meeting agendas that focus on major initiatives in the strategic plan
  • Measurable goals to track strategic plan implementation and organizational effectiveness
  • Performance reports presented in a dashboard format
  • Meeting evaluation form to assess incorporation of mission and values

 

5. Streamlined

The board’s size and committee structure are as lean as possible to facilitate communication, participative discussion, and efficient decision-making.

Sample Best Practices

  • Straight-forward structure
  • Optimal size (11-17) to balance the diversity of competencies with the need for timely decision making
  • Sunset provision for committees
  • Committee charters, annual goals, and work plans
  • Task forces for short-term needs

 

6. Competency-Based Composition

Board members are chosen to bring specific competencies and personal characteristics that will enhance the mission, vision, and work of the board. Competencies are developed further through orientation and ongoing education.

 

Sample Best Practices

  • Written board competencies
  • All trustees participate in the recruitment of prospective members
  • Term limits promote connectedness with stakeholders, fresh thinking and objectivity
  • Rotation of members on committees
  • Members are evaluated and reelected based on satisfactory performance
  • Succession planning for board leaders

 

7. Education and Development

Competencies are enhanced through education and ongoing board development.

 

Sample Best Practices

  • New trustee orientation and mentoring
  • Board manual, including written board policies
  • Education at all meetings
  • Participation in outside seminars
  • Annual board retreat
  • Board education budget

 

8. Value-Added Work

The board focuses on meetings and all work on activities that add value to the organization, with an emphasis on high level, strategic matters and critical issues affecting the future of the organization.

 

Sample Best Practices

  • Annual board goals and work plan
  • Formal and open agenda planning process
  • Consent agendas

 

9. Continuous Self-Renewal

The board regularly evaluates its performance and uses the results to improve. The board also evaluates the performance of the board as a whole as well as the performance of the chairperson and individual trustees.

 

Sample Best Practices

  • Regular self-evaluation
  • Evaluations of chairperson and individual trustees
  • Governance Committee

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