Don’t tell me to delegate…It doesn’t work! – Part 1
When I think of which topics on management development programmes are most likely to be received with cynical looks from the learners, delegation quickly springs to mind.
Many managers don’t like to delegate, and resist it, for a number of reasons:
- You lose direct control and that can be really stressful
- You believe “if you want something doing well, do it yourself.” Or you feel that you have no-one that is up to the task
- You don’t have the time to “waste” on explaining and coaching others. Much quicker to do it yourself
- You’ve been on the receiving end of poor delegation and, remembering how that felt, you don’t want to “dump” on others
So why do we keep emphasising the need for it?
Because stakeholders and development specialists like me, know that effective delegation is essential in order to:
- Free up your time so that you can focus on the areas of work where you add most value
- Develop the skills of your team members, so they can become as good as you
- Motivate them by demonstrating your trust in their ability to perform
If you’re convinced it is a good thing to delegate, you then need to decide what to delegate.
Here are my suggestions:
- The tasks that you did before you were promoted and are still doing. They helped you to develop, so give someone else the same opportunity. They are also easy for you to explain as you know them well.
- Areas in which others have more experience and expertise than you. Make the most of their strengths and skills without relinquishing responsibility. They still need to keep you informed on progress and decisions.
- There will always be mundane tasks that need doing. The key is to try and share these out fairly as you do with the more exciting, developmental tasks. One way to help your staff feel more motivated about taking on these tasks is to give them ownership for how they are carried out. Be clear on standards and deadlines etc. but flexible on how they chose to carry them out.
So that’s a brief run through the why and the what of delegation. Next week I’ll post my thoughts on how you should delegate and to whom.
Meanwhile, I’d love you to think about when you’ve been on the receiving end of poor delegation and share your strategies on how to be ineffective at delegating.