Delegating Work (20 Minute Manager): A book review by Bob Morris

Need a briefing on the basics of delegating work effectively? Look no further.

Delegating Work is one of the volumes in the 20 Minute Manager series created by the editors at Harvard Business Review Press.

About 90 pages in length, prepared in collaboration with several experts who are identified, each volume provides essential material in the form of a crash course or brief reminder, “a concise practical primer that will help you brush up on a key management topic.”

Its purpose is to provide a briefing on the basics of an important business activity.

It is NOT a comprehensive examination such as Mike Michalowicz’s excellent Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself. That book deserves its Five Star rating for an abundance of information, insights, and counsel.

Delegating Work  is a NOT an anthology of 10-12 HBR articles in their entirety.

Rather, its authors suggest, “You know you need to delegate some of your work so that you have time to focus on the things that require your expertise. But it’s not easy to do. Delegating Work quickly walks you through the fundamentals.

For example, when

o Establishing a productive environment
My Comment: Mutual respect and trust are essential.

o Assigning the right work to the right people
My Comment: This is a major factor — perhaps the key factor — in any division of labor and assignment of tasks.

o Conducting an effective hand-off meeting
My Comment: How well this is handled often determines the success or failure of the delegation and also serves as a model, for better or worse.

o Monitoring without micromanaging
My Comment: Check in, don’t check on. Don’t hover. Communicate confidence…and appreciation.

If you need more substantial guidance, there are other sources to consider, including aforementioned Clockwork as well as those recommended on pages 79-85.

The list price is $12.95 for the paperback edition but Amazon sells it in several formats and editions for less. The return on a modest investment will be limited only by how hard and how smart each reader applies effectively relevant material.

One final point: There are no delegation issues. Only business issues.

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