“If I want the job done properly then I have to do it myself.”
How often have you heard that one … probably said by a manager, frustrated by the lack of expertise of some staff member?
Image courtesey of Wikimedia Commons
Why, you may wonder, has the worker not got the expertise? Why must the harassed manager carry so much of the burden?
Several years ago I was working for a major international financial organisation when they offered a Time Management course for senior executives. All agreed the course would probably be useful. But attendance was optional and when the day arrived only four, of over forty, of these senior people turned up. The reason? Go on, you know already, don’t you? Yes, they couldn’t spare the time to attend!
Why are staff at all levels – from the most junior to the most senior – so ‘time poor’ in today’s business environment?
Where, it appears, too many people seem to be taking on an inordinate workload … and not handling it well. Could it be that, to use a common modern phrase, rather than working harder they need to work smarter?
John A G Smith
1 Jul 2016
Delegation is about letting employees make decisions and work on their own initiative. To be successful, employees must have the resources to complete a delegated task. This may mean providing training, tools and support.
Managers can delegate authority however they cannot delegate responsibility, this is important. Although an employee is responsible for meeting deadlines, goals and objectives, the Manager is still ultimately responsible for the success of the delegated task.
- Employees may do a better job when they feel personally accountable, even though responsibility ultimately rests with the individual who made the delegation.
- Delegation can make an employee's work more varied and therefore motivate the employee.
- Managers have more time to innovate and plan.
- When delegation involves training and mentoring, the organisation will benefit from a more highly skilled workforce.
- Employees will learn to be better decision makers given more responsibility.
- Managers may lack the knowledge or motivation to delegate.
- Managers may choose the wrong tasks to delegate.
- Managers may not communicate the task effectively, providing inadequate direction.
- Some managers get stuck in the belief that "if you want a job done right, you have to do it yourself."
- Managers may:
- Lack trust in their employees
- Fear being seen as lazy
- Be reluctant to take risks
- Fear competition
Any of the above may result in incomplete or incorrectly completed tasks.
The manager is ultimately responsible for delegation and must take responsibility for:
- Delegating the wrong task
- Delegating to the wrong person
- Not providing proper guidance.
The employee is ultimately responsible for:
- Doing the task incorrectly when given adequate resources, guidance or training.
16 Jan 2008
Here's a simple checklist to help you to delegate more effectively.
1/ Analysis of the task
First and foremost decide if the task is appropriate for delegation. For instance make sure that it isn't anything that you alone have been trained to do. What is also very necessary for you to bear in mind is that you must choose the right person for the job, you can’t be biased towards this sort of thing otherwise it will undoubtedly be your downfall. If there is no one capable then I'm afraid the responsibility falls to you to do it once again. But remember delegation is as much a reflection of you as it is on the people you delegate to, as it shows your ability to judge people correctly and can often be a marking that you are capable of this on a larger scale.
2/ Make sure that there is a firm understanding of what needs to be done and why
The person or people who give the job to should be fully aware of any responsibilities and expectations that come with it. Make sure that they know what sort of a priority this task is and why they were chosen. From the beginning state what you expect and what needs to be achieved, the person or team you have assembled should be under no pretences about what the results should be and when the deadline is. Similarly your team should be properly equipped with the resources and/ or equipment that they will need to get the job done.
Also it is vital at this stage, before the project gets underway, that you reach an understanding with the person, or persons delegated to about how you are going to monitor and check their performance on the project. If you do not breach this topic with your delegates then when you do begin to monitor the situation they might find it interfering or meddling.
3/ Monitoring and checking results
This is a very important part of delegation, even though you yourself are not now working on the project at hand it is essential that you take an active interest in how things are going. As was said before it is as much you on the line as it is your delegates, so it is vital that you are fully aware of what is happening and are there on hand to correct any mistakes. If something does go wrong in the project make sure that you understand what went wrong and why it happened, so you will be able to rectify the problem and hopefully stop it from reoccurring.
When your team or delegate has finished the job successfully, make sure to let them know that they have done a good job and that their efforts are appreciated. It can sometimes be the case that a manager will take the credit for work done through delegation and whilst you are entitled to credit you should remember that this should include your delegates also.
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