The Art to be Able to Delegate Effectively
For the lucky few, knowing how to delegate effectively – even at all – comes easily, maybe too easy. For others who are perfectionists, letting go of even the most trivial task is almost a Herculean task. If you are in this second category, you probably do not like the references behind your back that you are a control freak or a micro-manager.
You cannot do everything yourself. And the bigger your business grows, the truer this becomes. That is why it is so essential to master the art of knowing how to delegate effectively.
Delegating the day-to-day work frees you up to think big, reach out to clients, nail down new sources of revenue, and do the things that only you can do. As a bonus, delegation provides your employees with the hands-on experience they need to develop a broader range of skills, ensuring that they will be ready to grow along with the company. This, in turn, builds trust, spurs employee engagement, and improves the health of your organisation.
Change Your Perceptions
So, it is a win-win all around. Why then do so many have problems letting go? It is all in the perception of the act of delegation. We tend to delegate tasks. It is the exception – or maybe better stated, the exceptional – manager that delegates responsibility.
Delegating tasks is (admittedly) easier. There is always work lying around that needs doing, and when a few steps along the pathway to accomplishing a goal can be handed off to a trusted colleague, managers jump on the opportunity. In that moment, it is far harder to carefully think through the total requirement and to delegate the entire responsibility for a project or outcome to a subordinate. But by delegating broader responsibilities instead of constantly dealing with the back and forth of task delegation, you also free up more of your own valuable time.
So how do you go about changing your attitude to delegation?
Preparation is Key
Employees cannot deliver quality results if the task delegated to them is not fully thought through, or if your expectations keep changing. Take the time and develop the discipline to map out precisely what you’re asking for. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Be very clear about both the assignment and the expected outcome – but do not tell your people exactly how to do their assigned tasks. Instead, describe the goal and then let them find the best approach. By allowing your team to work in the way they believe most effective, you will increase their creativity and initiative while boosting their self-esteem.
Leave Your Ego at Home
Just because an employee does things differently does not mean he or she will do the job right or as well. If you establish expectations of the goal and the standards to follow, then how they work should not be an issue. An important and often overlooked part of delegation is that it helps develop employees for advancement and creates a better work environment.
This comes back to delegating responsibilities, not tasks. No work you give out exists in isolation; it is undoubtedly part of a wide project objective. Share those objectives, so that your employee can gain a better understanding of their part in the wider goals.
Do Bit Just Walk Away
Obviously, you have to allow the employee to do the work, but check in periodically on progress. Do bit look over their shoulder or watch their every move. But when you outline the expectations in the beginning, make sure you build in checkpoints for follow-up.
And Do Not Just Delegate the Stuff You Are Not Interest In
Avoid monopolising all of the interesting tasks and delegating the menial ones to others. If you routinely delegate only the boring, repetitive assignments, you will decrease the job satisfaction and quality output of other staff members while increasing their stress levels. Share the good, the bad, and the ugly with others in a balanced way based on the tips above.
By following these delegation guidelines, you will be able to decrease your workload, increase time management and personal productivity, and develop your staff to help them reach their full potential.
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