Delegation: a Management Essential

Delegation is every manager’s responsibility. If you aren’t delegating (giving someone else the responsibility, authority, and accountability to act in your behalf), you aren’t fulfilling your role to its greatest capacity. True delegation serves multiple purposes:

Safeguards project deadlines: Involving others reduces your workload and gets the task completed on schedule.
Strengthens the workforce: When employees are given responsibility with authority and accountability, they become part of a team, creating a positive company culture.
Develops employees: Increased training and responsibility builds skills and confidence in your employees.
Maximizes your time and skills: Delegating frees your schedule to accommodate other tasks that require your expertise.

Delegation is an art. It requires understanding when and how to delegate.

When delegating is essential:

• When there is a lot of work. This seems very basic, but a common mistake of managers is thinking that they have to either do or micromanage everything, creating serious burnout. If there is more work than one person can accomplish – and still enjoy life – then determine which aspects can be delegated.
• When someone already has the necessary background, understanding, and expertise to do the job; or can be trained accordingly in a reasonable amount of time. Note: Sometimes training someone first may mean that total time involvement is the same or even a little more, but you will reap the rewards on future projects.
• When the task provides an opportunity to develop an employee’s skills and strengthen his standing in the company. As a manager, this is a key part of engaging and retaining top employees.

When you should not delegate:

• When it’s a high level tasks involving confidential matters.
• When the task is your specific responsibility and failure to complete correctly will result in serious consequences.
• When you are simply shirking your responsibility and dumping an unpleasant task on someone else.

How to delegate effectively:

Evaluate the situation: Invest time at the beginning of a project to define your goals and objectives. Create a list of responsibilities and match them with specific employees.
Communicate: Before delegating a responsibility, make sure the employee has the ability or can be trained, understands the big picture objective, and is fully aware of operating procedures, performance standards, and deadlines.
Give authority: Give the employee the necessary authority to complete the task – too little authority requires your constant participations and negates the purpose of delegation; too much authority risks opening the door to problems with serious consequences and jeopardizes your position.
Expect and provide feedback: Have specific times allotted to discuss and evaluate progress, making changes if and when appropriate.

Obstacles that hinder delegation:

• You: Yes, you read that right. Often the biggest hurdle to jump is your own tendencies to control every situation and your fears of what will happen when you relinquish that control to someone else. Remember, giving control of some tasks allows you to better control the whole. Furthermore, while delegating a task may mean that the particular task is completed in a different way than you would have completed it, it does not mean a lowering of standards. Providing that you adequately communicate and enforce the standard of work required, the method becomes inconsequential.

• Fear: Employees have their own set of fears. They may be afraid of their inability to fulfill the responsibilities, failing and jeopardizing their job, or the time commitment the new task will require. This is your opportunity to be a great leader. Encourage them by reminding them of past successes or skills you have observed in them that will help them accomplish the task. Assure them that you will not delegate a task without allowing reasonable time to complete it. Examine your typical response to errors and glitches. Is your response creating these fears? Do you need to make changes?

Mastering the art of delegation enables you to fulfill your responsibilities, encourages professional growth among your employees, and creates a company culture that radiates teamwork and confidence. Contact Springborn Staffing. We will match your Bangor and Portland, Maine company with top quality managers who understand delegation, and employees who accept it.

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