HOW TO ENSURE EFFECTIVE BRIEFING
Once you have reached an agreement in principle, refine the brief and organize a detailed briefing meeting. Select your approach carefully, since the outcome of the meeting is vital to the success of the partnership between delegator and delegate.
Communicating a Brief
The delegator’s primary task at the briefing is to communicate effectively and ensure the delegate’s full understanding of the assignment. You can achieve this by adopting a methodological approach. Explain the task objective clearly and state your expectations in terms of deadlines and levels of measured achievement. List the steps you think will have to be taken to complete the task successfully, and ask if the delegate understands. Be clear about which areas of the brief are flexible and which must be followed to the letter.
Even the most carefully prepared and well-communicated brief can result in misconceptions. You can avoid misunderstandings by asking relevant questions throughout the meeting and inviting the delegate to do the same.
Pat attention to body language: a lack of eye contact may indicate that your delegate is not absolutely in agreement with you, or is having trouble taking it in. If you suspect any disagreement, encourage him or her to repeat what they have heard to ensure that they understand and agree. Make it clear that you expect the delegate to use their own initiative when appropriate, and ensure that there are no doubts over the extent of their authority.
SELECTING A BRIEFING METHOD
|BREFING STYLES||FACTORS TO CONSIDER|
“I would like you to take this on for me when you have the time.”
|For people you know well, and for delegating less important, simpler tasks. Verbal instruction is sufficient, although some formal follow-up may be required.|
“I have decide to put you in charge of budgetary control.”
|When the task is important to the group and to you. Usually accompanied by a written brief stating the task objective and how and when it should be accomplished.|
“We all think you are the best person for the job.”
|When recognizing the particular kills of an individual within a team or task-force, and singling them out for special responsibility. The whole group decides the brief.|
“I am not going to tell you how to do this job. I’ll leave it up to you.”
|An idea approach for experienced staff. You rely on your delegate to assume complete control of a task and to make key decisions without supervision or follow-up.|
“We have a problem at the head office I want you to sort out.”
|A rewarding form of delegation. Your candidate is creative and is able to communicate ideas effectively. Outline the problem – he or she will know what is required.|
“I would like you to take this off my shoulder, and improve it.”
|Used when you delegate part of a key task to a trusted individual whose fresh approach may provide some new solutions. You are regularly informed of progress.|
Ending a Briefing
Draw a briefing session to a conclusion by summarizing the key points of the delegation. End the meeting by thanking your delegate for taking on the task and communicate your confidence that the assignment will be carried out successfully – it is important that you emphasize that you have appointed this delegate because you trust his or her abilities. Finally, establish a date for a follow-up meeting to review progress.
- If a delegate is negative at the briefing, reconsider the assignment.
- Keep encouraging delegates after they have taken on a task.
- Ask for any new ideas when your delegate reports on a task progress.