Get “the 80/20 rule” right! The critical task of an effective manager is to plan and to delegate as work circumstances may require. Know who should be delegated for what and when. The nature and the timing of the delegated assignments, the knowledge, the skills, the abilities, work habits, personal and professional values and philosophy of the employees should be taken into considerations in the decision-making process. The 80/20 rule is universe but how you apply does matter. Apply it wisely.
In the Federal government, managers may exercise the “perform other duties as assigned” to delegate the 20% of the tasks that are of low value so managers can focus on the 80% of the tasks that are critical to the success of a project, a one-time or infrequent assignments. Delegating does not mean you permanently assign your employees to do your job for you. You receive compensation and awards and they don’t. Each employee has the required critical duties and responsibilities that are required of them to perform and be measured against for success or failure. The delegated tasks must belong to the “perform other duties as assigned” category and must be temporary. In a team work environment, each employee will receive a delegated portion by assignment or by volunteering. I find it a little bit easy to allow each employee to select what delegated tasks they want to help out and can work independently with great results while meeting deadlines and performance expectations. As managers, you should be able to engage and to encourage all employees to participate and you should recognize and reward them timely, fairly and equitably. Apply the principles of equal opportunity, equal employment opportunity and inclusion and you will see amazing results. Managers must plan well and must be fair to all for the 80/20 rule to work.
When the employees are assigned the 80% critical tasks on a continual basis, compensation and rewards must be considered and the job description must be updated for ensuring full accountability. In this scenario, the existing 80/20 or the Pareto’s rule does not apply.
What are your thoughts on the 80/20 rule? Have you used it? Does it work for you? I would like to hear from you!
Phuong Le Callaway, Ph.D. (Organization & Management/Human Resource Management)