Management Tip: Trust but Verify

A lot of managers don’t know how to delegate.

They understand the task and are able to explain what needs to be done ok.  They allocate the task to a capable person just fine. They even set a time frame for completing the task exactly as you would expect.  But in the end, they don’t delegate the task at all – they abdicate it.

What new managers fail to realise is despite someone else completing a delegated task (project, service, etc), they are still accountable for the work.  If they never follow up to check on the progress of these tasks and ensure that they are completed within the timescales and to the correct standard – then they are failing in their role as a manager.   They have abdicated all responsibility and all accountability for those tasks to someone else.

There’s a mantra that can help keep you in check. People who know me, know that I love mantras.  They are easy to remember and they help me to realign when I start to drift off course.  Here’s one that is useful when it comes to the art of delegation: “trust, but verify”.

You should always trust the people working for you.  Trust that they can perform the job for which they have been hired.  Trust that they will deliver work to the highest standard.  Trust that it will be delivered on time. But always Verify.  Verify that they did what you asked, verify the quality, verify the progress and that they are going to deliver on time.

The mantra is not “hope, but verify”.  You don’t delegate work and “hope” it will get done.  If you can’t trust your team to deliver the basics of the job then they either need better training/coaching or you should consider replacing them with people who can.

Delegate, don’t abdicate.  Trust, but verify.

Remember that when you delegate work to someone, they complete that work “on your behalf”.  You need to keep involved and protect your “brand” as a manager. So the next time you are about to delegate to someone, remember to trust, but verify.

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One Response to Management Tip: Trust but Verify

  1. Clark Adams April 15, 2011 at 2:02 am #

    Verifying the work of your workers is essential. Time management is also important, if you want to follow up all the tasks that are currently in progress.