It is hard to grasp the enormity today, but America was changed forever on September 11, 2001. We lost our innocence that day. In the days and weeks following the 9-11 World Trade Center and Pentagon disasters, I cannot help but think of the many things we have to treasure and be grateful for.
“Generation X” has evolved into “Generation Why?’ The defining question is no longer “Where were you when JFK was assassinated (for those of you old enough to remember), but “Where were you for 9/11?” I was the new chief stew onboard Mystique at Chelsea Piers, about 20 blocks away from Ground Zero.
Alene on the Deck of Mystique in New York Harbor, September 2001
Moments after the first plane struck at 8:45 a.m. we went out on deck. At first we were confused, but when the second plane hit at 9:03, the gravity of the situation was clear. There was no question in any of our minds that this was not an accident. I have never been so afraid in my life. I expected more planes to fall from the sky, and probably bombs, too.
We had a perfect view of the towers looking south that day, and we witnessed the events. We could see the towers through the golf range fence at Chelsea Piers. It wasn’t until much later that we saw photos of other views. We heard that the Pentagon had been hit and evacuated at around 9:45 and learned of the crash of United Airlines flight 93 in Somerset, Virginia, also headed toward Washington, D.C.
The first tower fell at 9:59 and the second fell at 10:28. We could not move the boat, so there we sat, at what was rapidly becoming Command Central. Chelsea Piers was convenient, as the permanent ice rink could serve as a temporary morgue. The convention and sports areas were being set up for medical triage, with hundreds of doctors and nurses waiting to receive any survivors who could not be treated at St. Vincent, Belleview and other hospitals.
Along the Westside Highway came a flood of people heading north. There was a hush to them, hardly anyone speaking, and here and there were people caked in fine beige powder. I imagined that Ground Zero was like a war zone, and remembered reading somewhere that the fabric of society frays in direct proportion to one’s nearness to the battlefield. In New York on September 11th, it was happening over the course of a few blocks.
By 11am, a security perimeter was established at Canal Street, a demarcation line between civilization and chaos that civilians would not be allowed to go into. I imagined that in many ways, the police detailed to this task must have felt just as lost and stunned as the rest of us. In a situation like this, power often has little to do with rank or uniforms. There is a peculiar kind of meritocracy that takes over in a disaster situation, and leadership falls to anyone with the confidence or charisma to seize it.
Our crew left the boat and volunteered as quickly as we could. We were met by 2 aides who instructed us that we were to accompany stretchers from ambulances and gather identification information and tag victims. We were told to expect up to 20,000 casualties. Groups assigned by color divided the area, and we were warned that it would be hard to witness. Green and yellow tags were for the ambulatory and moderately injured; red and black for seriously injured or deceased. My knees buckled a little when I heard this.
Triage was a well-oiled machine awaiting victims. Authority stemmed from remaining calm and focused while giving out instructions, and in our collective impotence, we were all desperate for someone to tell us what to do. It was organization for organization’s sake, coming up with a plan of action in the absence of either plan or action.
People were taking the very first steps toward rebuilding an ordered society in a corner of Manhattan where order had suddenly vanished. It was being done by volunteers taking direction from the natural leaders among us, wearing paper respirators around our necks making armbands printed on duct tape with black magic markers.
We waited and waited for the wounded to arrive, but they didn’t come. No one was coming out of that awful cloud a few blocks away. We were all just there—doctors, nurses, and volunteers like us, stacking boxes and erecting eye wash stations, making neat little trays of gauze bandages and syringes and antiseptic wash. It was only by staying busy that our minds could detach from the enormity of what had happened and let us believe we were doing something to help.
Injured people were walking in off the streets, but barely any ambulances had arrived. So many volunteers had gathered that we were asked to go outside. It was a sudden shock to be out in the sunshine, and unbelievable to think of the carnage just a few short blocks away. By this time the sun was setting over the Hudson River and for a while, maybe a half hour, there was a stunning gold tinge to the sky and the buildings around us.
All around the island ferry service had been organized and great numbers of people were being taken to safety. In the true spirit of that wonderful city, even in the midst of their own anguish, those waiting for ferries to shuttle them home greeted us with a round of applause as we poured out into the afternoon light. It was amazing to see how people treated each other. There was so much kindness, care and concern, everyone trying to do or say anything to ease someone else’s suffering. The grief and fear were palpable, though. Some peoples’ eyes were desperate, or terribly sad and vacant—as if the mind was trying to erase what the eyes had seen.
Up and down the highway stretched a line of emergency vehicles and knots of waiting firemen and medics and policemen as far as the eye could see. As hard as it was to accept, it was becoming clear that no one would be coming out of the ruins and flames anymore. Those of us who had been on the site all day were sent home. I sat up on the fly bridge all evening, watching the smoke rising from the charred remains of the Twin Towers, thinking of all the souls who had been lost that day.
By the second day people were slowly emerging from their initial shock, emotions settling into anger and sadness. We still had no idea of the number of casualties. Throughout the city that day impromptu memorials had been set up, little altars of flowers and candles. What had also blossomed were a million small posters, photos of those still missing, appeals from their families for any information of their whereabouts. It was heartbreaking
Like so many posters in terror stricken, war-ravaged areas throughout the world, like Bosnia, Chechnya and Rwanda, families and friends were holding on to memories of those who had vanished, refusing to give up hope that they might miraculously return.
It took me a few days for reality to sink in. I felt like an imposter, a voyeur, witnessing the grief of so many and emerging untouched. I was amazed at the strength and resiliency of the people of New York.
Like every other stew who has completed STCW Basic Fire class, I was in awe of the firemen who taught us. Now, I could not stop the image I had in my mind of all of the policemen, rescue workers and especially of the firemen wearing that heavy gear that day, so many brave men and women climbing the hundreds of steps never to return.
At Chelsea Piers there was something to do 24 hours a day. We could step off the boat and help any time of day or night, even if it meant just loading the boats carrying supplies down to Ground Zero. I was constantly thinking about all that we have and take for granted every day of our lives.
In the September 24, 2001 issue of New Yorker magazine, Anthony Lane writes, in an article entitled, This is Not a Movie,
“The shock [of the events] springs not only from the intolerable loss of life but from a growing realization that America had so much else to lose. For every sad skeptic who mocked or resented the United States for the lack of such tragedies in our history, there were a thousand hopefuls who thought it a compelling reason to come here–away from the after burn of combat and later on, from the daily management of risk.”
He continues, “Thousands died on September 11and they died for real; but thousands died together and therefore something lived. The most important, if distressing, images to emerge from those hours are not of the raging towers, or of the vacuum where they once stood; it is the shots of people falling from the ledges, and in particular, of two people jumping in tandem.
It is impossible to tell, from the blur, what age or sex these two are, nor does it matter. What matters is the one thing we can see for sure:
They are falling hand in hand.
Think of Philip Larkin’s poem about the stone figures carved on an English tomb, and the “sharp, tender shock” of noticing that they are holding hands. The final line has become a celebrated condolence.
On September 11, 2001, in uncounted ways, in final phone calls, in circumstances that Hollywood should no longer try to match – it was proved true all over again: “What will survive of us is love.”
We have so much to appreciate. We, as a society, are so fortunate to have such a wonderful way of life. Let us carry on the hope for peace.
But as an offshoot of hardship and the growth and development that occurred, I have the pleasure of announcing the completion of a sizeable project: a self-published book called “The Yacht Guru’s Bible: The Service Manual for Every Yacht”. It’s not a be-all and tell-all book. It is written to provide a framework of service skills that are required for stews on yachts and for high-end hospitality in general. It was inspired by my desire to give back something of lasting value to others.
Some readers may recall the account of my experience in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001 (you can read about it on this website). As the new chief stew on a yacht based at Chelsea Piers, we were close to Ground Zero and pretty much witnessed the entire tragedy when those planes hit the World Trade Center towers. It was harrowing, to say the least, but I was amazed at how quickly people showed up to help. Many of the volunteers were personally devastated, but still they lined the streets and set up triage stations. It was our duty to get out there, too, and do our part.
The night of the attack I sat on the sundeck and watched the smoldering sky. I couldn’t help but think of all the souls lost that day. The grief was almost palpable. What really hurt me was the image I carried of everyone who worked there and all who rushed to the scene to help: hundreds of firemen climbing up hundreds of steps in full gear; policemen, security guards, all of the shopkeepers, service workers, and so many others working in the many businesses there who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
Amid the devastation and ruin, they answered the call to serve and their legacy remains.
Realizing that the world truly is a better place because of their sacrifice helped me push through those heartbreaking days. We stayed in New York for a while and volunteered for relief projects. The citizens of that great city inspired me and lit a fire in my heart. For the first time in my life I realized that I could give something of value to the world on a daily basis: service.
At Chelsea Piers, there was work to do 24 hours a day. It might not be much, but I felt better when I helped out, even if it was just loading water onto trucks to be taken down to Ground Zero. As Ghandi said, “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others.”
Little did I know that the melancholy surrounding Sept. 11 would be compounded by a more personal blow. Shortly after we arrived in St. Barts for our winter season that year I learned that my nephew had died. His sudden and unexpected death was the first of several in my immediate family. Within the next few years we lost his sister, his father, several aunts, my father, and my mother. I would have to say that during this time I went through my personal “dark night of the soul”. I was lost and sad and terribly worried about my family.
It was service to others that pulled me back. Despite my grief, I found strength I didn’t know I had by focusing on my job. It occurred to me that service is a basic trait of my nature, and part of who I am.
I lost myself in reading and writing about service for at least an hour every day. I devoured books about service, wine, housekeeping — whatever I could find. My efforts to move past sorrow kept me aligned with my true self and helped me organize my thoughts about what I thought a stew should be, and what stews need to know to do our best. I realized that service is my calling.
It is common to find your calling after suffering difficulty. I developed a passion for service, and the energy of that passion pushed me on. I saw that I could channel my knowledge, my skills and my years of experience to define service in a way that would take me in a new direction. When I started my Yacht Stew Solutions education and training business and began writing this column for The Triton, I knew I was on the right track. The timing was right for me to give back by mentoring, educating and supporting others.
A calling carries a duty to serve something greater than the self. I truly believe that the service industry provides the highest calling there is. My vision of service rose like a Phoenix from the ashes of Sept. 11, and I will never forget that, but it is through writing about service and training others that I have found the perfect way to pursue my life’s purpose. This fulfills me and creates lasting significance in my life. How lucky I am to have found this fabulous arena, with such incredible situations and locations to serve in.
As is so often the case in yachting, it was a networking event that put me in the same room as my soon-to-be editor, Lucy Reed. I am eternally grateful to The Triton for the opportunity to reach so many people with my monthly column, and for the platform to explore more service topics. My research, life experiences and passion are summed up in the pages of my book, with the goal of creating a framework, providing insight, making intellectual progress and adding lasting value by organizing what stews need to know once they land that elusive job on a yacht.
Alene Keenan has been a yacht stew for more than 20 years. She teaches at MPT and offers interior training through her company, Yacht Stew Solutions (www.yachtstewsolutions.com). Download her book, The Yacht Guru’s Bible onor amazon.com.
© Yacht Guru Bible 2015
There are up to 18 Grape Varietals that are considered Noble Grapes. “Noble grapes” is a term used to describe the international varietals of grapes that are most recognizable for the top quality wine they produce. Some of the Major Noble Grapes are:
Major White Grapes
Notable regions: Burgundy, Champagne, So America, Australia, California
On the palate: Cool climate – zesty with med to high acid, medium body & alcohol. warm climate – low to medium acidity, medium to high alcohol with a “round” or “fat” body.
Notable regions: Loire, Bordeaux, New Zealand, California, Italy, Chile, So. Africa and Canada
On the palate:High acidity, light to medium body, and medium alcohol.
Notable regions: Germany, Alsace, Italy, Austria, Australia, United States and Canada.
On the palate: High acid. Can be dry to fully sweet. Low to medium alcohol.
What’s YOUR favorite grape?
Part of yacht stewardess training involves giving a heads up about one of the most difficult things to master in this industry: Individual and Interpersonal Relationhips onboard.
Unless you have actually lived and worked on yacht, it is hard to imagine what it is really like. It is basically living a life of extreme highs and extreme lows.
Yachting can be loads of fun and a great way to save money, but it requires a certain kind of fortitude. One of the most difficult aspects of living and working on a yacht is the fact that crew live, work, and play onboard. In yacht stewardess training, we touch on the fact that it can be very difficult to create a work-life balance. In a land-based job, people go home at the end of every day, where they have a chance to decompress and process feelings that may have come up around conflict during the day. On a yacht, there is no such thing as going home after work. You really have to focus on creating your own balance.
You have to learn how to process your feelings about what you are going through. It is kind of a trial by fire. Avoid being the complainer that no one wants to be around. In nearly every instance, everyone on the crew has gone through exactly what you are experiencing. You have to tough it out. Getting along with others, being respectful of everyone and not ever being involved in fights, arguments and politics can make you indispensable – in some cases, it’s more important than what you know or how hard you are willing to work.
Conflict is inevitable in this industry, and it is often up to the crew to find solutions to these issues. There is currently a lot of discussion about the lack of management and leadership training provided for senior crew, including captains. In many cases, crew receive very little support in this regard and are left on their own to figure things out. This is one of the reasons there is so much turnover in the yachting industry. And it is closely related to one of the reasons that owners sell their yachts. Most owners do not want to see new faces every time they step onboard.
Your interpersonal skills can make or break your enjoyment of the experience onboard. The most important advice that I can give anyone wanting to start out on yachts is: “Don’t be more trouble than you’re worth.” When you’re starting out, you are very easily replaceable because you have not proven yourself and have not earned the trust of the rest of the crew. You’re living in very close quarters and one of the drawbacks of living in such a small space is that every little bit of your personality is exposed–good and bad. As part of yacht stewardess training, it is important to stress the importance of individual and interpersonal relationships.
For all of you who have called me “The Yacht Stew Guru” over the years, I wonder how many of you know that I actually am a certified Yoga Instructor?
(No that photo is not me , but I thought it would be nice to see a picture of a hot guy for a change, instead of a girl in a bikini , doing a full Yoga wheel.) Try holding this pose for 3 minutes and completely integrating your breathing and saying a mantra. It is not as easy as it looks, lol. This photo is courtesy of www.liftingrevolution.com
Lately I have realized some of the devastating effects that stress has had on my body. Anxiety and weight gain have taken a toll, and it it time for me to regroup. By discovering this new (for me) style of Yoga, I have had my own epiphany. I would like to share it with you, and hope that it helps you as much as it is helping me!!
I took my second Kundalini Yoga class recently at Yoga Source in Davie, Florida, and I believe I have found what I was searching for all these years. What took me so long? Going beyond physical exercise into the deeper realms of yoga is a life-changing experience.
Kundalini yoga focuses on releasing the energy that is stored at the base of the spine. With all of the back injuries I have sustained throughout my life that are exacerbated by my yachting lifestyle, this sounds like heaven to me.
I started out doing Yoga when I was about 12 years old. I had an old copy of Richard Hittleman’s 28 Day Yoga Exercise Plan that I loved. Then when I was in my early 20’s I took the 4-week long residential Yoga Teacher Training course at Ananda in Nevada City, California. I became a disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda.
That was a very intensive course, with poses, meditation, and instruction for 8-12 hours every day, no weekends off. I really learned how to meditate there, and I started to develop an interest in chanting and toning. The Ananda Self-Realization style of practice was unique because each pose has an affirmation. From there I learned various other routines.
Throughout all of my years in yachting I carried with me several videos and then later DVD’s of Yoga sessions. Yoga is one workout that you can do in a small space. It benefits the mind as well as the body, and I have happily done my routines in my cabin or on deck. I continued to do Yoga even after I fractured a vertebrae in my neck in an auto accident. I still love Ali McGraw’s Yoga Mind and Body, with master Yoga Master Eric Schiffman. Many of my Rodney Yee Dvd’s have been worn out from constant use. I toyed with Bikram Yoga, and followed that religiously for years–(by the way, Bikram Choudry studied with Bishnu Gosh, who was the brother of Parmahansa Yogananda).
Bikram is Hot Yoga. The 90-minute routine is normally done in a room that is 105 degrees F. If you think Yoga can’t get any more intense than that, you may be mistaken. Kundalini Yoga takes me to a whole different level. Kundalini yoga focuses on awakening kundalini energy through regular practice of meditation, breathing, chanting, and asana (and no, it is not “the sex Yoga”–that’s Tantric Yoga).
To get the most out of your practice, you have to be fully present mentally and wiling to go the distance. It is called “the yoga of awareness”, and it aims “to cultivate the creative spiritual potential of a human to uphold values, speak truth, and focus on the compassion and consciousness needed to serve and heal others.”
I think it is the perfect prescription for those of you who have, like me, chosen a life of service. It is more heavily concentrated on breathing and mindfulness than on acrobatic postures. Don’t get me wrong-the asanas, or poses, are important. But the real change occurs with the mental focus and with the breathing. It was introduced to the US in 1968 by Yogi Bhajan who founded the”Healthy, Happy, Holy” (3HO) as a teaching organization. Check out the website, http://www.3ho.org/
I have just begun my exciting journey of exploration into this practice, and I hope you will come along with me! I’ll give you feedback on my experiences as I go along. And now, for a little taste of how Kundalini Yoga works, watch Anne Novak demonstrate the technique, and then try to do 50 Yoga Frogs. Your liver and kidneys will thank you for it. Be mindful of your breathing!
Today’s yacht stewardess training for mixologists is the latest trend! Recently I taught a bartending class for yacht stewardesses and yacht stewards and we had a discussion about the difference between simple bartending and mixology. We determined that mixology is a step up from bartending, a sort of alchemy, and that aperitifs, digestifs, and liqueurs are a large part of Continue reading
A great wine education for yacht stewardess training and estate managers was hold by Pioneer Linens of West Palm Beach, Florida. They recently hosted the monthly meeting of the local branch of the Domestic Estate Management Association. It was interesting to note that there was about an equal mix of yacht stewardess participants as there were estate management participants. Although the main topic was a fabulous demonstration of the new Laura Star ironing system (more on that later), one of the most interesting people that I met was Drew Feinberg, a sommelier who owns The Wine Sage, a personal concierge and sourcing service for fine wines and champagnes located in the Palm Beach area. I was so intrigued that I had to contact him. Part of yacht stewardess training you can find in my book The Yacht Service Bible involves wine education, and particularly the fine art of food and wine pairing.
He was kind enough to share the following with me:
As far as pairing Wine with Food a yacht stewardess or a yacht chef can follow these guidelines below as basics:
Higher acidity wines leave you wanting to take a bite of food and after taking a bite of food you’ll want a sip of wine (doesn’t that work nicely).
Flexible Reds with food – have good acidity such as Chianti, Red Burgundy, CA Cabs, Oregon Pinot Noirs and Zinfandels (fruit driven), Rhone Wines such as Chateauneuf du Pape
Fruit driven dishes with fruit components like Pork w/sautéed apples, roast chicken with apricot glaze, duck w figs go great with fruit driven wines such as Gewurztraminer, muscat, viognier and Rieslings
Saltiness in Food is a great contrast to acidity in wine, Ex: Smoked Salmon & Champagne(or fruity acidic red) Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and Chianti.
Asian dishes that have soy sauce pair well with high acid wines like German Rieslings. Stilton Cheese(something salty) with Port(Sweet) a nice contrast.
High Fat Food – with a lot of animal fat, butter or cream cries out for a rich intense, structured, concentrated wine. A big California Cabernet or Bordeaux Red with a Rib eye Steak or perhaps the most decadent wine and food marriage of all: Sauternes and Foie gras.
Dessert – Sweet and sweet don’t really work, because if the dessert is to sweet it will make the wine appear dull and bland. A not too sweet wine goes well with a fruit or nut tart dessert.
Wow! Drew, thank you so much!! How is that for some fantastic wine education information and a great introduction to The Wine Sage, Drew Feinberg. He can be reached at www.YourWineSage.com, 561-252-8160.
Drew, I look forward to working with you soon on some more wine education and food and wine pairing seminars for yacht stewardess training and estate managers in the Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale area. Readers, please drop me a line for more information!!
For all my other readers, if you are looking for more great information about yacht stewardess training my book The Yacht Service Bible is meant for you! Check it out NOW!
Last month, we talked about cleaning hard surfaces on the boat, and this month it’s soft goods such as upholstery, draperies and carpet.
Dust settles on upholstery and fabrics just as it does on hard surfaces. It should be removed regularly with vacuum cleaner attachments: the upholstery nozzle, brush and crevice tool. However, if you are cleaning down-filled cushions or pillows that are not lined with down-proof ticking, always use a soft brush by hand because vacuuming could pull the down out through the fabric.
Vacuuming will remove some dust but it will also scatter dust around so remember to vacuum the surrounding area when you are finished.
Different fabrics require different types of care. Here are some guidelines for cleaning window treatments and upholstered furniture.
Canvas, jacquard, and rayon: Run a dry-cleaning sponge over the fabric in short, even strokes to lift out dirt. Be careful on jacquard because delicate threads can pull and snag.
Add 2 capfuls of mild detergent to a bucket of cool water. Dip in a sponge or cloth, wring out well and go over the fabric with long even strokes. Use as little liquid as possible to prevent mildew.
Allow to air dry.
Leather and Vinyl:
Vacuum the piece of furniture using a soft brush on a low setting.
Slightly dampen a microfiber cloth with water and rub the soiled areas. Water can remove dirt and it won’t permanently discolor the leather.
For deeper cleaning consult a professional. Use leather cleaners and protectors with care, if at all, because they can stain some leathers.
Pile fabrics (such as chenille and corduroy) and wool:
Vacuum the piece on a low setting with the upholstery brush, using long horizontal strokes. Do not use a hard brush attachment as this can pull on fabric and snag it. A dry cleaning sponge or a slightly dampened cloth can be used to lift dirt.For deep cleaning, consult a pro. Slipcovers of cotton and linen:
Remove covers and machine wash them on a delicate setting, following care instructions that are on the label, which is usually attached near the zipper. Hang to dry.
Slipcovers of silk:
Hand wash in a sink filled with warm water and a capful of detergent. Or have them dry-cleaned. Hang to dry.
Slipcovers of suede:
Do not use any moisture on suede, since it will be permanently stained. Use a product recommended by the manufacturer.
For deep cleaning, consult a pro.
Carpets and rugs. Oriental, antique or delicate rugs:
Be careful with these valuable, delicate items. Do not vacuum them because suction from the vacuum can loosen threads from the weave. Instead, sweep gently with a soft nylon broom.
Water and cleaners can stain, so always consult a specialist about any cleaning that needs to be done.
Natural fibers (such as wool, sisal and sea grass):
Vacuum on high power with a brush with a beater bar attachment.
To remove ground-in dirt, push the vacuum over spots several times.
Carpet cleaners can stain or bleach out areas, so use a cloth dampened with water to get out any spots.
Blot dry and then allow to air dry.
If water does not get the stain out you will need to do a little detective work. It is important to know what type of stain you are dealing with, as specific solutions are used on different types of stains. Using the wrong solution can permanently set the stain.
Never apply stain remover directly onto the carpet; apply to a clean cloth instead and use the cloth to carefully work on the spot. If in doubt, consult a professional cleaner.
Synthetics (such as nylon, polyester and polypropylene):
Vacuum and spot-treat with water. Synthetics often have a stain resistant finish applied, so water is usually enough to release spots and stains without using any cleaner.
Blot treated spots with a towel.
Use a soft carpet brush to raise the pile of the carpet. This exposes fibers to the air so they will dry faster.
Generally speaking, when it comes to cleaning upholstery and carpet, keep it simple if you can. Always try using a cloth slightly dampened with water to gently lift spots out. Do not rub too much as this will grind in the stain.
Commercial spot removers can do more harm than good, so use sparingly, if at all. When in doubt, consult a professional cleaner.
This month in our yacht stewardess training article, you’re going to learn various yacht stew tips about detail cleaning the cabins and bathrooms on the yacht. Some of these tips, also found in the Yacht Service Bible, will also apply to furnishings in other living areas of the boat, so feel free to apply them where appropriate.
We’ve all seen instances of a stew being promoted or hired as chief stew who simply does not have the experience needed to perform the job.
A stew may be really great at service and housekeeping and have a year of experience, so she is hired or promoted to a chief stew position. She tries hard to master the management and administration aspects of the job, but at the expense of the overall organization. She is having a hard time and is not very successful.
Sometimes problems of ineffectiveness have to do with an inability to cope, not with a lack of skill or interest or passion for the job.Often, people are simply promoted beyond their capacity.
Management is all about getting the job done through others. The greatest motivator of human performance is knowing exactly what is expected of you. The greatest demotivator is the reverse. You must be perfectly clear about what you want done, to what standards, and in what time frame.
One of the hardest things about management is learning to delegate properly. It seems like it would be easier to do everything yourself—in the time it would take to stop a project you’re working on while you show someone else how to perform his or her job, you could have done it yourself and completed your present project as well. And it would be done correctly, no less, since nobody can do it as well as you anyway.
It can be hard to figure out how to delegate properly, but it is an important skill to learn. It can be the secret to your success as a manager, and without it you have no future. You will get stressed out, burned out, mean, and grouchy. You may as well go back to the ranks and let the captain hire someone who can delegate properly.
What are the keys to delegation?
Well, first of all, you must have an overall vision of what you are trying to accomplish, and then you must make sure that the goal is crystal clear. Determine what is to be done, how it is to be done, by whom, and with what resources. Then, plan properly. Every minute spent in planning saves 10 minutes in execution. Think the steps through carefully, be clear about your goals and objectives, and then convey everything through discussion and feedback.
Be very clear about the results expected; list everything that must be done to achieve the results you want, what resources are to be used, and the standards that are expected. Make sure your instructions are so clear and simple that anyone could follow them.
Be sure to communicate the expected standards of performance, as well. Each person should know what is expected of them, how the results are to be measured, and when it is to be done. People can’t hit a target they can’t see. It’s your responsibility to create a clear picture of their responsibilities.
Think through the steps to be done to complete the project. What experience and current abilities are needed to it? Discuss the work thoroughly with the person assigned, and then ask them for feedback to make sure you’re “on the same page” as far as understanding what you are asking them to do. Organize your supplies and make sure you have everything needed to do the job.
Remember, you are still responsible for the end product of the work you have assigned. Check in frequently to see that everyone is doing what he or she is supposed to be doing, to the proper standard, with the proper supplies, and at the right speed. If a stew uses a Scotchbrite pad to clean the high-gloss paint in the foyer and damages the surface, it is your responsibility, for not making it clear what was expected and what supplies to use.
Practice management by walking around. Even if you are working on projects of your own, stop frequently, go around and ask how things are going. Make sure they have everything they need. Inspect what you expect.
Be visible and available and think of yourself as a helper, a teacher, and a resource to help get the job done. Ask for feedback, make suggestions, encourage, and motivate others.
Create an environment where people feel good about themselves and their work. Listen carefully when people talk. Thank them for anything and everything they do that is out of the ordinary. Praise them in front of others.
Delegate patiently, delegate thoroughly, delegate carefully.
For each project, clearly communicate what responsibilities are being delegated, what your goals or objectives are, and to what standard the performance is being measured. Ask for feedback to be sure you are understood. Have the proper supplies and resources available. Manage by walking around. Be visible, available, and helpful. Check on progress every step of the way, and keep the end result in sight. Remember, clarity is the foundation of great management.