As CTM's Courseware Developer, Maria Myers identifies the needs of trainers and designs/creates training and development programs accordingly. In this week's blog post, she gives us her quick guide to delegation in the workplace.
I need to give you a bit of a harsh reality.
No matter how hard you work, there’s only so much you can get done.
Everyone needs help and support, and there is no shame in accepting your limitations and asking for assistance.
One of the best ways of overcoming this limitation is to delegate your work to other people.
If you do this well, you will quickly build a strong and successful team.
At first sight, delegation can feel like more hassle than it’s worth.
However, by delegating effectively, you can greatly expand the amount of work that you can deliver.
When you arrange the workload so that you are working on the tasks that have the highest priority for you, and other people are working on meaningful and challenging assignments, you have a recipe for success.
Below is your guide to delegation in the workplace.
Sometimes it’s hard to know when it is time to delegate your tasks. Delegation allows you to make the best use of your time and skills, and it helps other people in the team grow and develop to reach their full potential in the organization. Delegation is a win-win situation for all involved, but only when done correctly. Keep these criteria in mind when deciding if a task should be delegated:
- The task should provide an opportunity for the growth of another person’s skills.
- Weigh the effort to properly train another person against how often the task will reoccur.
- Delegating certain critical tasks may jeopardize the success of your project.
- Management tasks, such as performance reviews, and tasks specifically assigned to you, should not be delegated.
Who to Delegate To?
Once you have decided to delegate a task, think about the possible candidates for accepting the task. Things to think about include:
- What experience, knowledge, skills, and attitude does the person already have?
- What training or assistance might they need?
- Do you have the time and resources to provide any training needed?
- What is the individual’s preferred work style? Do they do well on their own or do they require more support and motivation? How independent are they?
- What do they want from their job?
- What are their long-term goals and interests, how do these align with the work proposed?
- What is the current workload of this person? Does the person have time to take on more work?
- Will you delegating this task require reshuffling of other responsibilities and workloads?
When you first start to delegate to someone, you may notice that they take longer than you do to complete tasks. This is because you are an expert in the field and the person you have delegated to is still learning. You must practice patience. If you have chosen the right person to delegate to, and you are delegating correctly, you will find that they quickly become competent and reliable. Also, try to delegate to the lowest possible organizational level. The people who are closest to the work are best suited for the task because they have the most intimate knowledge of the detail of everyday work. This also increases workplace efficiency and helps contribute to their personal development.
How Should You Delegate?
Delegation doesn’t have to be all or nothing. There are several different levels of delegation, each with different levels of delegate independence and delegator supervision.
The Spheres of Independence
People often move throughout these spheres during the delegation process. Your goal should be to get the delegate to one of the outer three spheres, depending on the task being performed. Make sure you match the amount of responsibility with the amount of authority. Understand that you can delegate some responsibility, but you can’t delegate away ultimate accountability. The buck stops with you!
The delegate must be made aware of relevant information in order to successfully execute the task. It is important to take the time to explain why they were chosen for the job, what’s expected from them during the project, and the goals you have for the project. They should also have a clear understanding of any timelines and deadlines, as well as the resources on which they can draw. It is best to work together to develop a schedule for progress updates and milestones. You will want to make sure that the team member knows that you want to know if any problems occur and that you are available for any questions or guidance needed as the work progresses.
We all know that as managers, we shouldn’t micro-manage. However, this doesn’t mean we must abdicate control altogether. In delegating effectively, we have to find the tricky balance between giving enough space for people to use their abilities, while still monitoring and supporting closely enough to ensure that the job is done correctly and effectively. One way to encourage growth is to ask for recommended solutions when delegates come to you with a problem and then help them explore those solutions and reach a decision.
Set aside enough time to thoroughly review any delegated work that was delivered to you. If possible, only accept good quality, fully complete work. If you accept work that you are not satisfied with, your team member does not learn to do the job properly. Worse than this, you accept a new project that you will probably need to complete yourself. Not only does this overload you, it means that you don’t have the time to do your own job properly.
Of course, when good work is returned to you, make sure to recognize and reward the effort. As a leader, you should get in the practice of complimenting members of your team every time you are impressed by what they have done. This effort on your part will go a long way toward building team member’s self-confidence and efficiency now and in the future.
Remember, to delegate effectively, choose the right tasks to delegate, identify the right people to delegate to, and delegate in the right way. There’s a lot to this, but you’ll achieve so much more once you’re delegating effectively!
Our newly updated Time Management Workshop discusses more on how to delegate and manage your tasks. Download today and get started on your corporate training!
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