Delegate wisely, or drown
In order to be successful, a manager must be free to manage. Delegating certain tasks and projects is therefore essential. Unfortunately, insecure individuals may feel threatened by the involvement of others, and controlling managers may not be able to let go of a project. Yet delegation is an important investment that every manager needs to implement.
Delegating is more complicated than issuing orders and walking away. You must plan carefully, communicate clearly, monitor objectively, and evaluate the product and process.
Planning what tasks to delegate is often the most difficult step for managers. They dislike slowing the pace to make sure employees do the job correctly. Many view the process as a hindrance to getting work done.
A manager may not delegate because he or she feels that, “I can do it faster and better myself.” Managers must realize that they are not giving up control, but are instead changing their method of control.
In planning delegation, a manager must first develop the right attitude. You need to have confidence, and to feel secure in your own position. You must be willing to trust others to perform tasks.
Next, a manager must decide what work is appropriate for staff and associates. Good managers delegate as much as possible. As a result, they are able to devote more time to management. Of course, there are tasks that you shouldn’t delegate such as: confidential tasks, performance evaluations, etc. But almost all detail work, reoccurring tasks, and information collection can be delegated.
Finally, a manager needs to decide whom to delegate to. Consider the skills, interests, and employee workloads when selecting a person. Effective delegation doesn’t necessarily mean an even division of tasks and responsibilities. Some people enjoy the challenge of new projects, while others are better at handling routine tasks. Use your head, and don’t overload one person.
Once work and worker have been determined, you need to effectively communicate the corresponding responsibilities. These may be specific or general, written or oral, and for a short or long period of time. Remember that the more details you provide, the better the odds that the task will be completed as you intended.
After responsibilities have been effectively communicated, it is essential that you monitor the work. This can both motivate your employees and assist you in catching problems at the onset. It also allows you to make corrections and offer guidance to guarantee success. Employees should then be given the space and authority to carry out your requests.
As a follow-up to any assignment, a manager should appraise the completed task. Share your opinion of the process and results, and encourage the employee to do the same. This will provide insight for both of you. Many times failure is due to a lack of understanding about the task. Sometimes the individual lacks the authority to complete the task, and that can also lead to failure. Reevaluate your method of delegating if either of these conditions exists.
Wise mangers recognize and reward good performance. This is a fundamental rule of management, and unfortunately, one that many mangers forget.
The ability to delegate separates productive managers from ineffective ones. Not only will you benefit by delegating, but your employees will too. They will gain job satisfaction, challenging work, and an enhanced sense of responsibility.