Do any of the following questions sound familiar to you?
- Do you work longer hours than you should?
- Do you spend time doing things for others that they could do themselves?
- Do you struggle to meet deadlines?
- Do you find yourself working the detail rather than the bigger picture?
- Do you do jobs because you enjoy them, not because you need to?
If so, then mastering the art of successful delegation will help you.
We all know that, as managers, we should delegate more and allow ourselves and our teams to reap the benefits of:
- Having more time to focus on the priority areas of our role
- Improved job satisfaction
- Increased opportunity for personal development
- Jobs being performed at the right level
- Improved flexibility of resource
- Developing the skills and knowledge of our teams
- Improved succession planning
So, what is stopping us from delegating? Some of the reasons put forward are:
- It is quicker to do it myself than spend the time showing someone else - this may be true initially, when time and energy need to be invested, but, in the longer term, time savings can be achieved
- They might make mistakes and I am still accountable - yes, that is a risk. However, if a properly managed process is followed and the appropriate monitoring and support are in place this risk is minimised.
- They might become more expert or proficient than myself - people often hold on to activities as they believe it makes their role secure and protects them. In reality this is not the case. The improvement of individual's skills and knowledge will improve the team performance, which will be a benefit to everyone.
In order to achieve the benefits of delegation we must ensure an appropriate process is followed. Let us look at the 5 key steps to help you master the art of successful delegation.
1. Identify the task /project - Review your work and identify appropriate tasks. Tasks which are good candidates for delegation, although not exclusively, are those which are routine and are performed frequently, or, those which require technical expertise which others are more suited to doing. Jobs which shouldn't be considered for delegation are those which
- Involve the reward and recognition of team members
- You have been asked to perform personally
- Involve communications and strategy although elements of these may be suitable.
2. Identify the right person - this involves matching the skills of the individual with those required of the work, not just delegating to the most willing person. In addition their commitment, trust and general competence should be considered. The individual’s career aspirations and how these fit with the task being delegated should be taken into account.
3. Agree goals and outcomes - This is an area where the delegation process can easily fail. It is important to agree clear goals and outcomes so that everyone involved in the process understands what is required with regard to expectations. For larger projects, smaller milestones might be appropriate.
4. Risk control through monitoring - this is important to provide ongoing confidence to all involved. The type and frequency of the monitoring should be agreed at the beginning, such as face to face meetings, documented reports. The choices will be informed by the size and nature of the piece of work.
5. Support and recognition - the individual should feel supported throughout the process. The level of support required will depend on the individual's confidence levels. Delegation is not about abdication. Finally, once completed, don't forget to give the appropriate recognition to the person.
I hope the above has given you some ideas as to how you could delegate more. As usual any comments or feedback are always welcome.