Help me help other architects! This blog is an excerpt from the first draft of my book: Breaking the Box: Explode out of Architecture School to a Successful Career as an Architect. You can help by leaving a critique in the comment section below. And if you are just starting I suggest you check out the table of contents for an easy road map. Thx you rock! -Steve
In the last section, I shared Why Architects Should Delegate. When you delegate you will help yourself grow, you will help your colleagues grow and you will help your firm grow. Delegation is one of the hallmarks of a good leader.
We know that delegation is a good thing yet we all struggle with it. Myself included. To help everyone I have put together:
5 Steps to Effective Delegation
Step 1 - You Gotta Have Faith
I will be the first to admit that I sometimes get nervous in the abilities of my colleagues. In my head I may be thinking:
“But this person has never worked on a hotel.” Or “They just started working in Revit last week and they are going to mess this up!”
The issue is not with my helper. The real issue is with me. My lack of trust makes it hard to make the delegation leap.
We can not wait around for the perfect team members to show up. We need to work with whom ever is available. And that is o.k. I didn’t come out of the womb knowing how to design a hotel and operate a computer. Someone once delegated and taught me.
Sometimes you gotta have faith.
Step 2 - Start with the Why
Through out my career, when people have delegated work to me, it has started one of two ways.
Intro #1: “Steve, here is a stack of redlines that we need by Thursday.”
Intro #2: “Steve, we have a Design Development Deadline for the new city high school. It is located at the corner of Main and Walnut Street. Can you please focus on the elevation and section sheets. Sally will be working on the plan sheets and Ashley is working on details. We will need everything completed by Thursday.”
With just a couple of extra sentences you can empower your staff by letting them know: why, what and when. They will be more responsive and will feel like an important member of the team. It is also a good idea to have your team repeat the instructions back to you.
Step 3 - Check, Check, and Check
Faith and a good hand off will only get you so far. You still need to follow up with your team and check the work. Set up a time and frequency for these reviews. I prefer to meet with my team near the end of the day. This frees up the peak morning hours for work and allows everyone to plan for the next day. You may need to meet more frequently for shorter deadlines and for more junior level staff.
It is also wise to spontaneously check in with your helper. Often people are reluctant to ask questions. These random encounters are a good time to answer those questions and fill any gaps.
Step 4 – Embrace Teachable Moments
Hey man! Nobody is perfect. When mistakes occur, embrace them as teachable moments. This is how people learn.
One of my delegating mishaps is that I often overlook minor errors. For example, I will notice that one of the items that I asked of my helper was incomplete. They did 9 out of the 10 things I asked but there was this one little thing. Rather than bring it to the person’s attention I will make the change myself. “It will be quicker for me to just do it myself,” I think.
This is a missed opportunity. The helper may not have known that they made the error and will not learn from the mistake. On the other hand, I may have not properly explained the task, and have missed an opportunity to improve myself.
“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.” –Oscar Wilde
Step 5 – Say Thank You
This is the easy part. Say thank you. When you delegate, you open the door so that people can help you. This is an amazing thing. Saying thank you strengthens the team and enhances synergy.
I have to confess that this chapter was a challenge to write because I struggle with delegation. I really like to hold on to things. But I am getting better. In fact, the process of writing this book has highlighted many weak points in my skillset. Sometimes we know what we should do, but don’t always do it.
I could use your help. Do you have a story or tips you could share on delegating? Tell me your story in the comment section below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you in advance.
Another chapter in the books!
Chapter 21 by the Numbers
· 1,705 words
· 6.8 – Translates into approximately 6.8 pages in book form.
· 3 – Blog Posts
· 10 – Hours to Write and Post on Blog
· 6 – Stretched over 6 calendar days.
· 1.13 – Average book pages written per day.
The Book by the Numbers
· 37,339 – Total Words
· 149 – Total Pages
· 55 – Total Blog Posts
· 220 – Goal for final page count.
· 130– Days Since Starting
· 1.14 – Average book pages written per day.
· 73 – Estimated days to completion of first draft. (220-149) / 1.14) = 62
· 18– Chapters down.
· 10 – Chapters to go.
· 0– New subscribers to the Breaking the Box Email Newsletter
· 48 – Total subscribers to the Breaking the Box Email Newsletter