Managers: learn to delegate!

Every minute of a manager’s day is precious! Ideally, to avoid wasting a moment and to actually save time, you should be able to trust your staff. The key word is delegation! Although this is sometimes interpreted as relinquishing control, it is actually a crucial skill for a manager. By applying appropriate methods and adopting the right approach it will become a habit which you will find indispensable and your teams will appreciate too.

Why delegate?

  1. On a typical day, unforeseen events can throw a well-organised schedule off-track. Tasks which are deferred to the next day have to be added to those already scheduled. Over the course of time, the workload builds up and you end up not knowing what to focus on.
  2. By trying to do too much, you run the risk of becoming less effective, not to mention compromising your health.
  3. Recognise that not achieving everything is not an admission of failure, quite the reverse. Your role as a manager must be to focus on your priorities so that your team is moving in the right direction at the right pace.

Key point
Strike the right balance: over-delegation is not the solution either. Your staff could get the impression that you are not doing anything and your authority would be undermined!

Take things one stage at the time

  1. Begin by defining which tasks can be allocated and to whom, according to the different capabilities of the people in your team.
  2. Start with small assignments which will not stress you or put the people you have delegated them to under too much pressure: organising files, fine-tuning a presentation, placing a straightforward order.
  3. Based on outcomes, gradually make the tasks more challenging.

Key point
Before entrusting a task to a staff member, make sure that their schedule is adjusted accordingly so that they can respond without getting into difficulties themselves.

Adopt a positive management approach!

  1. If someone makes a mistake, do not cast doubt on their ability, as this would be demotivating.
  2. Ask yourself why they failed in order to try and understand where they ran into difficulties and help them to avoid making mistakes in the future.
  3. By contrast, if the task has been carried out with great flair, remember to offer congratulations and provide further opportunities to demonstrate your trust.

Key point
Do not re-do all or part of a piece of work entrusted to a staff member – their confidence will be dented. They have to re-evaluate their own performance in order to move forward.

Prime your staff to succeed!

  1. Firstly, set achievable deadlines and objectives.
  2. Explain the intended outcome or guidelines for the assignment.
  3. Remember to allocate the necessary resources to your member of staff for the assignment: budget, technical support, training, etc. Do not forget to offer them your support and attention.

Key point
Do not adopt a controlling approach by framing the task too closely. Let your member of staff choose how to organise it. They may take a different approach which transpires to be as effective as, or even more effective, than yours.

In conclusion, delegation is a skill; you have to follow a few simple, logical rules. Ultimately, you stand to benefit substantially – and your teams too!