6 Simple Steps to Effectively Delegate Work or Provide Instructions
Good Practice For Any Staff Member, But Great For Aspergers and Neurodiverse Employees
One thing that any staff member appreciates is a clear understanding of the expectations of their manager. Ensuring your staff member has clarity on what is required of them helps to:
· Build their confidence and self-reliance
· Avoid confusion, misunderstanding and anxiety
· Reduce rework and lost productivity
Now you’ll be thinking, "but I want that for all my staff, not just neurodiverse employees". As is so often the case, you’ll find these steps will benefit all your staff members as well as yourself.
Sure, it’s going to mean a little more effort on your part upfront, though with time you’ll quickly find yourself following these steps naturally and you’ll wonder why you hadn’t done it before. It’ll become another useful tool in how you effectively support your neurodiverse employees. Just remember:
LIKE ACRONYMS? HERE'S A TONGUE TWISTER!
Whilst not quite rolling off the tongue, you’ll find that with use, this will certainly become second nature - CPQQRT.
This is the opportunity to outline the background of the task. What has given rise to the task? This the task’s ‘Why’.
It’s also the point to cover any previous work completed or attempted and how it relates to the task at hand.
Are there any broader or specific contextual issues that are relevant in the completion of the task? By providing this level of information to a person with Aspergers for example may allow them to start to identifying patterns or opportunities that might not otherwise be obvious.
Essentially the objective of this stage is to ensure that the person receiving that task has an understanding of the environment in which the task exists and why – you’ll be surprised at how often that little bit of additional information can lead to a more innovative solution or approach.
What is the objective or outcome that is sought from completing the task? If the Context is the ‘Why’, then the Purpose is the ‘What’.
Where the Context is the background and looks backwards, the Purpose is looking forward to what the task is expected to achieve.
All neurodiverse employees, like everyone else will appreciate having an understanding of why a task or activity needs to be completed. Again this may also present the opportunity for your staff member to identify an alternative path to achieve the desired outcome that is more efficient/effective etc.
Here you want to outline the standard of work, the success measure. How will your staff member know they have done what was expected.
This could be a measure of accuracy or a description of completeness. Ie “every single item needs to be wrapped and boxed to look like the sample product”, or it could be “you need to ensure that all receipts have been matched to a corresponding invoice, then entered into the accounts system before you then provide the summary table to the Accounts Payable team”.
Where Quality covers the standard for completion, Quantity refers to the measure of volume, scope or other physical measure of throughput that is required.
So, using the last two examples, that might look like:
“Start with all the items on these first 2 pallets” or “we need to get all the March receipts completed”
As is also the case with Quality, there's real value in providing very clear direction for Quantity when delegating work to someone with Aspergers or Autism in particular. As some of these employees may have a more rigid mindset and can excel when provided with very clear parameters to operate within.
As many employers have discovered though, you might need to be ready with the next task or a backup activity for when they complete the work far quicker than you may have anticipated!
Think about the various types of resources the person may be able to rely on to help them in completing the task. These could be financial ie a budget, tools or equipment, space ie a room, desk or bench etc, information (guides, manuals or instructions, databases etc) or people.
Who can they contact if they need assistance? It’s also worth noting how much of people’s time they should expect to be able to use.
How long do they have to complete the task? Are there key milestones that need to be achieved and when?
Also think about how you would like them to keep you abreast of progress and in what format you expect that communication to be in.
Provide clear guidance on how you would like them to let you know if time frames are slipping or if in fact they are getting through the work faster than expected – they may need more work sooner than you anticipated.
PUTTING THEORY INTO PRACTICE
A valuable way to implement this task allocation framework is to actually document the task. You could use a simple template with headings or it could just be an email that is broken down by the six steps.
By providing the instructions in writing it helps you to slow down and consider the details being provided which helps you and your team member. Having it in writing also provides a valuable reference point that your staff can refer to and if necessary seek clarification on.
You may find it beneficial to follow up the written instruction with a verbal overview and to ensure that the task requirements and expectations are understood and answer any immediate questions before things get going.
Remember, with practice comes fluency and this will quickly become another tool that just becomes a part of how you do things that will make your life easier and that of your team as well!
Are you looking for ideas or advice on working more effectively with a neurodiverse staff member?
Neurodiverse staff can be a truly valuable addition to your business and deliver value well beyond of just the work they do. Neurodiverse recruitment can be easily introduced within your current hiring processes.