Delegation Strategies for Collection Agencies

By Dean Kaplan+

Good management skills help collection agencies and companies in general to stay competitive and successful. The term “management skills” is a broad category which includes motivating, disciplining as well as delegation. This is the fourth of five articles dealing with how excellent management skills lead to increased success for collection agencies and credit departments.

A really good credit manager knows how to delegate responsibility to his or her debt collectors. This is a skill which does not come easily to some people, because it is easy to fall into the “I can do it quicker and better myself” syndrome. The reality is that managers who delegate well do their own job better and their collectors are happier because they feel valued and trusted to do their job to the best of their abilities.

Agencies and credit departments should ask their managers the following questions to ascertain whether or not managers are delegating appropriately to their debt collectors:

• Are you doing work that your collectors could easily do themselves?
• Are you frequently overwhelmed with detail work?
• At the end of the day do you have so much work left to do that you end up taking it home with you?
• Do you work a reasonable amount of hours, or are you constantly putting in extra time?
• Do you find yourself completing important management tasks barely on time or even a little late?
• Are you spending a lot of time doing things that feel unimportant?
• Does your job feel boring and routine?

If your managers answer “yes” to many of these questions, this signals a lack of delegation skills. It is time to teach your managers how to delegate effectively. When managers are delegating properly, more work gets done, and debt collectors and managers feel greater job satisfaction. In addition, managers who delegate well generally move up more quickly in an organization. Typically, managers who delegate well can handle greater responsibility and a better paying job.

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Even the President delegates his duties so he can focus on what's most important

The bottom line is that successful leaders get things done by surrounding themselves with hardworking, loyal employees. If a manager places competent collectors around him or her, this reflects well on the manager. The manager shows confidence in his or her own skills, and confidence in the skills of the collectors reporting to him or her. Ultimately, delegation will enable the manager to move onto more important tasks, including finding ways to make the agency or department run more smoothly and efficiently.Below are some suggestions for successful delegation:

• Understand why it is good to delegate. The objectives of delegating are to get the job done, allow you as the manager to do more important work, and enable your agency or department to benefit from increased productivity and efficiency.
• A manager must study his or her own job and identify exactly what tasks can be delegated. The goal is to delegate as much as possible, leaving the manager only with tasks that no one reporting to him or her can do.
• Understand that subordinates will make mistakes. When delegating, be sure to clearly communicate exactly what the collector is expected to do, and be ready to take the blame for mistakes that are made. A good manager has his or her employee’s back at all times.
• Once you have determined what you will be delegating, do it. When delegating, be very specific, and let the collector know what authority you are giving him or her along with the task. Tell others in the agency or department what has been delegated and to who so that there is cooperation extended where necessary to get the job done. Remember, delegation and communication goes hand in hand.
• Follow-up! Even though you have delegated responsibility and empowered your collectors to do a job, the ultimate responsibility of the task remains with you, the manager. Communicate frequently with your debt collectors and ask them to submit regular status reports on their progress.

Agencies, like any operating business, need capable managers and debt collectors to promote profitability. Managers who can delegate responsibility well will be better able to promote productivity and good morale within their departments. Click here if you missed the first article in this series Motivation Is A Key To Success For Collection Agencies. Click here if you’re ready to go onto the fifth and final article in the series Empowerment Strategies For Collection Agencies.

The Kaplan Group is a boutique collection agency specializing in large (over $10,000) debt collections due from businesses. Founded in 1991, the company has a stellar reputation (A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau) and is recognized as one of the leading collection agencies for results on large and complex matters.

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