One of the best tools that you can use when managing your team is effective delegation. Usually when I work with clients it’s the one question that comes up the most. What do I delegate?
Our gut instinct when we delegate is usually to give the boring, stuff that we don’t want to do so we can get to the exciting stuff. Now honestly, yes, there are times, that we have no choice and our support staff ends up holding the bag on administrative things. But where I’ve seen delegation work successfully is when you share the good stuff too.
I like to think about delegation as managing the iceberg.
Ideally, if you work on the stuff that happens above the water–you’ll be more strategic. Focus on the big picture thinking, planning, decision making that will chart the course of the project. Then carefully delegate the rest of the work to your team–let them work on the stuff below the water.
As a contributing author to the book Insights on Productivity in my chapter on Delegation Mastery I described mastering the art of delegation this way:
“True delegation is about maintaining the appropriate balance between letting go and staying involved. In an environment that promotes true delegation, everyone is constantly learning new things and experiencing personal professional growth. Workplace challenges, and the responsibility and authority that accompany these challenges, flows down the chain of command smoothly and effectively.ÂÂ Everyone delegates work and receives delegated work. Everyone learns. Everyone grows.”
It’s not about passing the buck or dumping the boring stuff.
Delegation is something you have to practice to get good at it. If you’re new to it, it can be easy to fall into micromanaging. Here are a few quick tips from my chapter to help you become stronger in delegation:
Step One: Evaluate strengths and struggles to identify your strengths and areas of opportunity as a manager and evaluate your team members to develop an understanding of their individual strengths and weaknesses.
Step Two: Evaluate the tasks and responsibilities critical to your success leverage the strengths of your team by breaking down the jobs to be done in your department and matching them with the best person to do the job.
Step Three: Begin delegating with reasonable freedom and boundaries. Be up front and honest with your team members. Tell them you are going to start with small projects to give them the opportunity to earn more responsibility and authority.
Step Four: Prepare for your next job. Now that you are creating opportunities for your team members and lightening your workload at the same time, start getting ready to move up by asking your boss to delegate more responsibility to you.
If you’d like to read the full chapter, plus some other great ones on productivity issues, click here to get your own copy of Insights on Productivity.
In the mean time, I’d like to know how you handle delegation. Drop me a comment and let me know how you delegate work to your team.
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