Delegation may be one of the toughest things for a manager to learn, and maybe one of the most important traits of a great manager. Some managers don’t delegate for a variety of reasons…easier to do the job themselves, they think that the employee will resent doing the job (especially if it is a mundane task), leading by example, or no one can do it as well as I can. Those are not really reasons to not delegate, those are excuses. There are many reasons to delegate, and more importantly, why a good manager has to delegate. With only so many hours in a day, a manager cannot afford to do everything.
So, here are some good tips from mindtools.com about how and when to delegate, as well as a survey you can take.
WHAT TO DELEGATE:
Let’s start with what not to delegate. Things that are your words, such as speeches and executive briefings should not be delegated. Things that are time sensitive that would take half the time allowable to explain to someone else. Work that is appropriate for your level should not be delegated. Using that as a guideline, you can get a sense of what you can delegate. With that in mind, do you have enough time to delegate the task, and is someone available to delegate the task to? How critical is the task? The more critical to the success of the company, the less a mistake can be tolerated, the less the task should be delegated.
WHOM TO DELEGATE:
Once you have decided to delegate a task or job function, you have to decide who to give it to. The rule of thumb is start with the people that report to you. Delegating to another department is hard on everyone, and only should be done when you don’t have the resources within your department. The person you delegate to do the task should have team buy in, meaning that everyone on the team has to be committed to the company and the team to be able to support that person. You also have to think about whether a job should be delegated to a team member or the team as a whole.
HOW TO DELEGATE:
This may be the most important part. How you turn over a job has a lot to do with the success of the project. Make sure you clarify your expectations, establish checkpoints to make sure the progress of the project is on time and in the right direction. Make sure you delegate the project results, and don’t delegate the detail (unless it is imperative to the project, then maybe you should not have delegated it), define your role in the project, and finally talk about how the outcome effects the organization.
If a manager can learn to effectively delegate, the organization can run more smoothly, and the manager can use the additional time in their schedule to think strategically instead of tactically.
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