Time Management Tip #12 – Delegate (Part II)
Below is from Coaching for Attorneys: Improving Productivity and Achieving Balance, chapter, 7, Managing Your Time and Energy—A Different Way to Practice, p. 173, etc. In this chapter we lay out five tips on effective delegation. Below is the fourth.
Learn to Delegate
“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” –Theodore Roosevelt
Imagine you are feeling overworked and harried. So you tell your associate, “Do this project for me.” And then you leave. That is not going to ensure that he understands what you want. One of the main problems attorneys have with delegation is they feel it takes too much time. That is why delegation is a part of the new paradigm. In the old paradigm, we are running and doing as much as we can as fast as we can. We don’t have time to give instruction to anyone. In the new paradigm, we understand that time invested now to give clear instruction is time saved in the long run.
2. Give the assignment as clearly as possible.
3. Ask if he has questions. If so, answer them.
4. Once he says that he understands, have him repeat the assignment back to you. Be sure it is completely accurate.
5. Ask him to return to his office and type up the assignment as he sees it and email it to you within the next two hours. Be sure you have included specific time lines for each part of the assignment.
6. Set yourself a reminder to check at the end of the day and make sure he has emailed you. If he has not, ask why not. Do not prompt him to do it or scold him for not doing it. Ask him to figure out why he did not follow through, and ask him to put a process in place so he will follow through on agreements to communicate with you in the future.
7. When you receive the email, review it closely to make sure it is accurate.
8. Track the follow-up times. (See next section.)
9. If it is recurrent and similar to projects that are common in your office, create a system and written instructions.
What are the Two Foundational Pieces of a Successful Law Practice?
The answer may surprise you. As I have been coaching law firms now for many years, I have observed the two most important pieces to be accountability and time management.
In successful firms, there are systems in place; there is a conscious way of managing time. Even if your firm is successful, I can promise you that learning good time management skills will increase success, improve employee engagement and reduce stress. But time management skills, while easy to learn, are tough to implement. I have written many blogs on time management (www.mclarencoaching.com/blog) and the longest chapter in my book is on, you guessed it, time management (Coaching for Attorneys: Improving Productivity and Achieving Balance, ABA, 2014.)
Knowing how challenging it can be to take this information and make changes in one’s practice, McLaren Coaching is offering a group coaching book study program on time management and accountability. The series will consist of six bi-weekly sessions over twelve weeks, during which time I will coach you on the techniques in the accountability and time management chapters of my book, Coaching for Attorneys: Improving Productivity and Achieving Balance.
You will leave this group coaching series with
- A network of Sacramento attorneys who are learning to apply the same tools to their practice
- An experience of implementation and experimentation with various tools as well as brainstorming and coaching over this time period that leaves you with the best practices for managing your time
- A sense of personal accountability that will take your practice to the next level
- Ways to best instill a sense of accountability in others within your firm
Dates are as follows:
6 – 7:30 pm (Tuesdays)
Note these are alternating weeks except for the final session which is after a 3 week holiday break. Because this will be a beginning of 2015 class, we will end the series with planning for the New Year.
Email Cami@mclarencoaching.com to ask questions or reserve your spot! Feel free to forward to other Sacramento attorneys.