Are you a successful manager or leader, accomplishing great things, wondering how to find extra time to get to the next level or increase productivity? Did you know there are ways to delegate more effectively?
Broadly speaking, there are only 4 options to get more out of the same 24 hours that we all have:
- Work harder (even longer hours; not something most of us want to do)
- Work smarter (optimise focus, master distraction and create efficiencies to get more done in less time)
- Decline appointments (attend less meetings, forgo social engagements, quit hobbies etc.)
- Delegate more effectively at work.
Most people under delegate
Delegating is often cited as a manager’s number one tool. From a functional perspective, the role of a manager is to get work done with and through people; to delegate! Delegating maximises productivity; it frees up a manager’s time, optimises focus and ultimately reduces stress, all while engaging and up-skilling team members.
So, why is it that most managers under delegate? What can you do, to give yourself permission to delegate more work and more frequently?
What are the benefits of delegating?
We all have a responsibility to contribute at the highest level of our capacity, both at work and in life in general.
As a manager, it is your job to take on complex tasks and strategic business projects that other members of the team cannot. Delegating benefits you by freeing your time, so that you are able to undertake and achieve these items of higher value.
Looking at it from a fiscal perspective, if you are doing work that could be completed by someone less experienced, and on a lower payrate, you are unwittingly costing your organisation money.
Importantly, delegating sends a positive message to your team – it provides the opportunity for them to upskill while demonstrating that you trust them and believe in their capabilities. The most motivating condition we experience at work is making progress towards something that is personally meaningful. Delegation is key to assisting both you and your team members to progress and get more done at work.
Why do managers under delegate and how can we reverse this pattern?
There are a number of reasons that managers avoid delegating. Do any of the below reasons resonate with you?
Unorganised and unplanned
Successful delegation is reliant on being organised. If you are unorganised or a poor planner, then delegating can seem stressful.
To combat this, update your to-do list and create project lists. This is an important foundation that will both decrease stress and will allow you to delegate. Additionally, seeing your to-do list next to your calendar highlights how much work you need to complete within limited time. Seeing this helps highlight your need to delegate!
Fear that the work will not be done properly
Do you fear that you will lose control of a project, or that it will not be delivered to your standard? Do you prefer not to delegate in case something is missed, and it will reflect poorly on you?
This type of mentality results in you undertaking increased work (which distracts you from other items) while dissuading other members of your team from participating. A great manager supports and develops their staff. Remember that your team want to succeed, feel challenged and fulfilled in their work.
Delegating creates more work
Perhaps you have implemented a project and as you know the ins and outs of it, you believe it is quicker for you to undertake the associated tasks. And guess what? You are probably correct in the short-term. However, ask yourself – ‘Is this the best use of my time, and will this create a robust team?’ Delegation is about seeing the long-game, not necessarily just the immediate task at hand.
You’re not sure how to properly delegate
Delegating can be a daunting skill to master, so much so that many managers simply avoid it. Nevertheless, just as you are requesting your team to broaden their abilities, it is important for you to strengthen new skills too.
Below are key steps to assist you to improve your delegation skills and grow as a manager.
How to delegate effectively using these delegation tips
1) Pick the right person.
Match the right person to the job. Be sure that the person you delegate the task to is capable or will have enough time and support to successfully deliver.
2) Provide the right instructions and set clear expectations
Book an initial meeting with plenty of time to discuss the task/project in detail. Make sure the expected outcomes, timeframes, parameters and available resources are clearly communicated. If there is a tangible example of what you are expecting, use this as part of your brief (e.g. previous report of a similar nature). Ensure that the person you’re delegating to feels comfortable with the task and understands your expectations of the quality of work that is required, the review points and the end timeframe.
3) Commit ongoing time to train, support and provide feedback
Delegating often requires an initial investment of time to train and mentor your team members. Ensure you set aside enough time for this by pre-booking time in your calendar for regular progress check-ins. Provide feedback in a constructive and timely manner and encourage people to come to you if there are any hiccups.
4) Review, improve and inspire!
After the delegated task is completed, discuss both what worked well and how to further improve next time. Reflect on the progress you notice and ask your team member what progress they notice.
5) Say thanks
Remember to say ‘thank you’. Feeling valued and acknowledged is key for motivating your team.
Start Delegating Work
Delegating work is a skill. It can require you to step out of your comfort zone and it certainly requires you to be planned and organised. But it is your role as a manager to make the best use of your time, to produce results for your business through the people you manage and to ensure the growth and development of your staff.
So, give it a go! Review your current workload and evaluate what you can delegate to members of your team, both smaller tasks and larger projects. It may be a challenge at first, but you and your team will flourish as a result.