An essential skill to managing well is delegation. The problem is that many managers think they can do a better job if they just do the task themselves. Rather than risk losing any power or stature, they keep many responsibilities and assignments for themselves. Not delegating effectively can actually cost these managers stature and they quickly become known as someone who does not know how to develop people.
If you want to get work done through others and build your reputation as a ‘people grower,’ here are some ideas about the best way to effectively delegate:
• Delegate the whole task to one person. Giving someone responsibility can increase their motivation.
• Assess the skills and capabilities of employees and choose the right person for the task. Know if you want to stretch someone’s skills, have the task completed as fast as possible, need to develop a person’s creativity, or want a fresh take on something.
• Be clear and specific about your desired outcome. That means letting them know when it should be completed, the constraints and parameters involved, why it needs to be done, what success might look like, and even why you have chosen them.
• Delegation means that you have given someone a task to accomplish but not the method to accomplish it (That’s assigning!) Let the person determine how to go about getting you the results you are looking for. Determine if you require a completion date; don’t make them guess.
• Employ active listening skills when delegating. Ask them what their impressions are of your delegation conversation and have them tell you what they think the results you hope to see are. Take the time to make sure they are clear about the expected outcome.
• If you need some control, they have not done this before, or they are learning the task, follow up a little more closely or frequently in order to get ongoing feedback about the progress of the assignment. Regular communication can provide information about how things are going (and you can catch problems earlier). Once you have determined how often to touch base – back off.
• If things go awry, don’t immediately jump in or take the assignment away from them. Continue to work with them and provide support and feedback.
• Evaluate the outcome. Did you get what you expected, more than you hoped for, or get an unexpected surprise or headache?
Delegation is the best way to develop employees and prepare them for growth and opportunity within your organization. As a manager, you should be doing the things ONLY you can do, and providing your employees a chance to learn, grow, get feedback about their performance, and contribute.
Remember that managing is about getting work done through others and not allowing them to watch you work.