Do you frequently find that you have more work to do than fits into the time available? Are you spending more time at work or taking work home and the burden of your managerial responsibility weighs heavy? Moreover, you often compromise family time with work overspill. An easy pit to fall into: now it is time to climb out of it. It is time to delegate!
Do you find yourself saying “It’ll take more time to explain, I may as well do it myself”? Or “This project is so important, I need to be on top of it”. These are traps formed by the belief that you and only you are capable of completing tasks. Not true. Sure you will need to steer the ship, but you don’t need to be in the boiler room!
As a matter of fact, one of the themes that I constantly repeat to my clients (and echo in my blog) is that
a manager’s job is to effect work through people.
Now this isn’t a work-dump scheme. You will still co-ordinate business strategy and direction. The difference is that you will have a much better overview enabling better decision-making. You will develop your team, build greater capacity and resilience. Crucially, you can reach the holy grail of planned action and optimal performance with minimal stress.
Start thinking: how can you delegate well!
Sound too good to be true? No, it is achievable. Just take a step back and:
- adopt and strengthen your mindset that others are capable of doing work to the standards that you need
- consider what should or should not be delegated
- split out tasks according to employee capability. You will need to train up some employees and coach them but once done they will be invaluable to you.
- encourage your team to work collaboratively to share skills and experience
- always delegate routine work (e.g. standard reports, filing)
- empower your team to take responsibility for areas such as scheduling, making minor decisions and answering routine questions. Empowerment is a great tool: not only does it get the job done, it is a strong motivator and gets people more involved in the business.
The Grand Delegation Plan
What: define the task outlining the required outcome and your expectations
Of course, you will need to retain personal control over areas such as emergency or confidential tasks, hiring people and employee relations. Additionally, there will be some tasks where your particular qualification level is mandatory.
Who: decide who is dependable with the right skills and attitude and
has the right skills already
needs training and in what areas
needs detailed explanation and more supervision
can work autonomously and reliably produce the right results on time. Can you pair up people to strengthen skills and approach?
Why: delegate properly explain to your employee/s what you want done and why you have chosen them for the job.
Importantly check their understanding
Listen carefully to their reactions, answer questions honestly. Equally, ask for their commitment
If possible, let them decide how they will plan out and execute the work to enable them to have ownership of it
How: outline their main sphere of responsibility and authority; where your employee can get resources and help
Importantly, let others know that your employee is doing this task on your behalf and acts with your authority. This will swerve misunderstanding in other parts of the company
Ensure that s/he is not overwhelmed by the addition of this task by reallocating some of their regular tasks whilst undertaking your assignment
Encourage your employee by expressing your confidence in them and ensure that you are available to mentor and give back up. Establish regular milestones and monitor progress as well.
Always, recognise and thank your employee when they have successfully completed your assignment
Remember you have handed this task over to someone else. Monitoring their progress does not mean micro-managing!! Avoid being overly prescriptive about how they should do the task. Use your coaching skills to help people to solve problems for themselves. But you are not abandoning them; ask open ended questions to help them reach solutions.
Ensure that delegation isn’t seen as “dumping” work. Communicate your aims and the benefits of the project to the employee. Explain its importance and the development they will gain. Be sure to give due credit to your employee for the success of the project. Never assume the kudos for yourself.
Delegate well and you will start to get volunteers for the next project!
For further reading I recommend:
*This post from Fantastic-Managers site may contain certain affiliate links for which I receive a small commission. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are mine and not influenced by the developing company. Please see Disclosure Statement on website.