Whether you are an entrepreneur in business for yourself or an aspiring leader in a pubic corporation you must learn the skill of delegation. In both instances it’s about getting others to do part of your work efficiently and for a greater good. Small business will not grow without others to take over part of your duties. In a large organization, you will not get promoted very far unless you show the ability to be a lean manager that effectively leverages and develops human resources.
If you micromanage expect stress for yourself and inefficiency and substandard results for the group you lead. You may spend considerable time putting out fires, working long hours and searching for focus while feeling saturated. Individual members might show lack of skills, experience, motivation, trust and laggard performance.
People don’t delegate for many reasons including, a of lack of organizational skills, old habits, reluctance to take risks, need to control, perfectionism, lack of trust and all sorts of fears such as: being seen as lazy, competition, asking others for help; plus- as with all processes- it often takes considerable up-front effort to properly delegate and execute the tasks involved.
Statistics show that the majority of employees are disconnected from their employer. In other words, they could care less whether the company meets its goals. The good news is that when businesses support their employees’ professional development and personal wellbeing, their morale and commitment improves dramatically.
When you delegate appropriately, you are providing employees the opportunity to develop their job skills. Yet, to skillfully pass tasks down the line, you need to supply the necessary authority, specify the desired outcome and comprehensively train the person who will be doing the job. You will let go of your control but will keep an eye on performance.
- Define and assess qualifications. Determine what will you delegate- who, what, where, how. Administrative tasks are obvious choices. Unless its necessary, avoid delegating processes or methodologies. Instead focus on results. Evaluate whether the person has the skills and tools necessary to complete the job.
- Communicate Expectations. Discuss with those you are delegating to, all the tasks that need to be completed and by when. Make sure they are thoroughly understood including performance standards and level of results required; never assume.
- Get the employee’s commitment. When possible get your employee’s opinion into consideration and obtain an agreement; negotiate if necessary. Employees will be more committed to do the job when they feel that their opinion has been taken into consideration. This may involve a simple question like- ‘do you feel comfortable with this assignment’? Or, ‘can you commit to that date’?
- Delegate in increments. Explore the possibility of delegating in increasing levels of authority; from basic to full delegation:
o 1) Fact-find- Authority is limited to analyze & report all the facts alternatives so that you can decide the appropriate response.
o (2) Recommend- The person has the authority to gather facts, and recommends a response for your approval.
o (3) Design- Here the person goes a step further and designs the action plan in response to be carried out with your prior approval.
o (4) Execute- The person now gathers the facts, decides, executes appropriate action, then tells you.
- Follow- Up. Monitor progress through follow up reports and meetings. More frequently at the beginning, less at the end but at a minimum make sure the person fully understand that they must report back when encountering problems or unforeseen circumstances.
- Wrap- up- When appropriate, schedule wrap-up meetings to review results and provide positive feedback and praise.
By becoming a competent ‘delegator’ you will make the best use of your time and skills allowing you to focus on strategy, coordination and other high-value work. It is also an opportunity to motivate employees since you are offering them to grow and develop to their full potential by trying and testing their skills and resolve. The end result will be increase performance from a group that will show respect for your leadership skills.