3 Steps To Effective Delegation

February 12, 2013

If you are serious about being a productive manager, developing your ability to delegate will certainly take you much nearer your goal.

Many managers resist delegating certain tasks because they afraid of losing control of the quality.  Others keep tasks to themselves just because they enjoy doing them. Whilst this can be understood let’s look at the first step to effective delegation.

Understand Why You Need To Delegate

One of the main reasons for delegating to your team is that you are paid to make the best use of your resources.  As a resource your skills as a manager and leader are more valuable than actually doing the work. You will be far more effective if you develop a team that will get the job done, so that when you are not there they can still function.

Spending more time planning ahead will reap far greater rewards that fire fighting. It also reduces stress to yourself and your team. If you are stuck doing the day to day activities you won’t be able to dedicate enough time to those tasks only you can do.

Decide What Tasks You Should Delegate

The temptation when making this decision is to delegate those tasks that you don’t like doing! Whilst these should be included it is worth considering those jobs that are more interesting but can be carried out at a lower level.

Remember that one of the reasons for delegating is releasing your time to do more important work. So time consuming and even complicated work should also be considered. In terms of motivation, the person taking on the task may appreciate the fact that you trust them to undertake such a task.

Ensure That Your Delegation Is Sustainable

This is the key to making delegation effective. Some managers’ delegate very badly and when it goes wrong they hesitate before delegating again. Delegation is not abdication! Whilst you have given some else the authority to get it done, you still retain the responsibility for its completion.

Like many other things in management it is all in the planning. Here are some considerations when putting your delegation into practice:

  • Does the person currently have the skills and knowledge to do the task effectively? If not make a plan for training and developing that person, taking into account their personal learning style. Have you allowed enough time for them to learn it properly, so they have every chance of success?
  • How will you monitor progress with this individual and what can they do if they need help and advice?
  • Do you know how to give feedback in a way that recognises the things they have done well as well as the areas they need to improve upon?
  • If there is a situation where they have not been able to complete the task within the timescales, do you have a plan agreed where you can step in, whilst maintaining the self-esteem of the person? By agreeing this process before hand you protect their credibility in the eyes of others and they will not feel humiliated if you have to do this.

Delegation should be a long-term aim, not just a way to get you out of trouble when you are under pressure. Putting enough time and effort into planning how you will delegate and choosing the right tasks will make it more sustainable. Your team will benefit from the increased trust you have shown in them and will make the team stronger in the future. Remember people enjoy variety in their work and are always looking for ways to progress. So what are you waiting for? Create your delegation plan today.

Many thanks

Scott Rumsey

Senior Management Trainer & Consultant at MTD Training


(Image by Keerati at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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