At a Glance
- Your way is not necessarily the only or even the best way
- 50% of companies surveyed by HBR are concerned about their employees’ delegation skills
- Experts have proven that effective delegation increases efficiency and saves executives valuable time
The majority of business leaders are averse to delegating, even though experts have proven it increases efficiency and saves executives a lot of time. Their main reason? They believe they can do the task more quickly themselves, rather than taking the time to explain it to others.
Meanwhile, a Harvard Business Review study titled Why aren’t you delegating? found that almost 50% of the companies surveyed were concerned about their employees’ delegation skills, but most of them didn’t offer training on how to delegate.
“The most common mistake a leader makes when delegating is that they delegate the wrong way,” says Scott Stein, international speaker, mentor and author of Leadership Hacks.
“They often just tell a staff member to do something without providing any context or information around expectations or how they want it completed.”
This can result in the task not being completed adequately or in the timeframe required, causing the leader to stop delegating.
The Big Idea
Choose the right tasks to delegate
When you’re running an entire department or business, delegation may not be an attractive option – but it can be effective in increasing the amount of work that you can deliver without growing your workload.
“When you arrange the workload so that you are working on the tasks that have the highest priority for you, and other people are working on meaningful and challenging assignments, you have a recipe for success,” according to MindTools.
To delegate effectively:
- Choose the right tasks to delegate
- Identify the right people to delegate to
- Delegate in the right way.
While you won’t achieve perfection each time you delegate, the more you delegate according to the above criteria, the higher your chances of learning to delegate effectively.
What’s in it for you
Stronger relationships and more goals reached
Effective delegating strengthens your relationship with your team while giving you more time to complete the tasks that require the most attention. Another benefit is that once you’ve trained and explained certain duties, staff will be doing what you want because they want to.
“When you start using this approach the relationship shifts from you directing them to a collaboration with you showing support and them buying into the task that needs to be completed,” says Stein.
The unfortunate by-product of this situation is that after a while, staff are not being developed and they realise that with a little bit of pushback, their managers will do it themselves.
After a while, the leader also starts to get frustrated because of the increased workload.
Make it Happen
Delegation doesn’t have to feel like anxiously giving orders to unwilling or unsure employees who may or may not get it done the way you would.
These 3 tips can help you master the art of getting things done synchronously:
1. Start at the bottom
The team members closest to the work and how it’s done are best suited for the task. Not only do they have the most intimate knowledge of the detail of everyday, but as workplace efficiency increases, people develop.
2. Focus on results
What needs to be accomplished is more important than how it gets done. Your way may be the quickest and easiest for you, but it isn’t necessarily the only or even the best way to complete the task. Make provision for whoever you put in charge to try their own methods and processes to foster success and trust.
3. Encourage and assure
Give credit where its due and have discussions around how business or project success will impact the employee’s financial rewards, future opportunities, informal recognition, and other benefits.