Too many people find themselves in a management position without learning the vital skill of delegation. The result – they become overloaded, because they are too busy “doing tasks” as well as managing their team (or worse, they forget to manage their team at all!). It is important to remember that management is the art of getting things done through others and not doing things yourself!
However, what is true delegation?
Delegation is entrusting responsibility and authority to others who then become responsible to you for their results. Delegation is not, do this, do that and tell me when it’s done (commonly referred to as gopher delegation).
Interestingly, the amount of authority you use with others will have a direct impact on the amount of freedom an individual or team feels it has – in other words, the more you control others, the less they will be able to be empowered to do their job.
Test your delegation skills, by using the following checklist:
1. When you delegate, do you ensure that the desired results are clear and understood?
It should be explained what is expected in terms of quantity, quality, budget and timing. Don’t explain how the results should be achieved – leave this to the individual.
2. Do you set reasonable guidelines?
What policies, principles and procedures are essential to get the desired results? Also, what level of authority does the individual have? Should they recommend a way forward or just go ahead and do it?
3. Do you provide the necessary resources?
Is it clear what financial, human, technical, resources are available?
4. How do you hold them accountable for their performance?
Is the individual held accountable? Have you set standards of acceptable performance? How will you measure results? How will progress be reported and accountability sessions held?
5. What are the consequences?
Does the individual understand what happens if the desired results are achieved or not? These should include both positive and negative consequences.
Delegation is a straightforward process and can bring enormous benefits to the manager. Following these simple guidelines will ensure that you delegate effectively and gain time to do other higher value management tasks.