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Delegation done right

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- We've all been there...Your boss just sent you an email or called you about another "HOT" task that's due by the end of the day. You're already swamped with other work, so you decide it's time to delegate.

You think to yourself, I could give the task to 1st Lt. Newbie or Mr. Klueless, but they're both new to the unit...I'd have to spend at least 30 minutes training them up on the issue and another 30 minutes correcting their work.

You then look around the section and notice Master. Sgt. Slacker and Capt. Sloth who appear to be doing nothing, but as you already know...if I give this task to one of them, it'll never get done by the end of the day...and I'll end up having to redo it.

Then you remember, I'll do what I usually do...I'll give it Tech. Sgt. Workhorse. I know she's already got her hands full, but I know she'll get it done and I know she'll get it done right. Problem solved.

Delegation is a critical tool for all leaders, but it is not one that comes without responsibility. Many offices, duty sections, units and businesses make do with a handful of workhorses.
They are the invaluable individuals who possess the knowledge, discipline and motivation to successfully accomplish almost any assigned task or responsibility. Busy leaders rely heavily upon them to get the mission accomplished. They are extremely critical resources to any organization and will often accept their continuous additional tasks with little protest.

However, even well-oiled machines will break down if overstressed. Instead of overburdening the "all-stars," supervisors and leaders must mold all their subordinates into "doers" and future leaders who can handle adversity and share the workload.

Everyone must perform in today's Air Force; there are simply too many responsibilities and too few people. The most common causes for an underperforming member are a lack of skills and/or a lack of motivation.

Training and discipline are the solutions to these problems, but training can be time consuming and disciplining subordinates is a challenging task for many leaders. Training and discipline are "investments" that can transform individuals such as Mr. Klueless and Capt. Sloth into valuable and productive unit members.

Your efforts will make your office, section or unit significantly more effective...and your "workhorses" will thank you.