Having looked at what could happen if you don’t delegate, and the benefits to you as a manager if you do, I thought it might be worth identifying where you can have the greatest impact on the process.
Firstly, it’s important to appreciate any concerns you have as a manager that may be stopping you from delegating or letting go of certain tasks. See if any of the questions in my previous blog ring true to you. Self-awareness is an important aspect of understanding your confidence levels and developing the leadership and communication skills necessary to delegate appropriately. Then consider the following.
When is it the right time to delegate:
- If the deadlines are compatible with resource availability and any re-work needed
- If expectations for quality and the impact of any failure are appropriate
- if someone else has the skills and knowledge, and it’s not critical that it’s completed by you
- If you have the necessary time to provide training and support, and attend progress updates
- When there is a genuine opportunity for someone to develop skills for future growth
- If the process will reoccur in the future
Bearing in mind that you need to maintain full responsibility for the completion and standard of the task at all times, the following may apply:
At the beginning:
- Explain why they have been asked to do the task, including rewards, skills development and future benefits.
- Clarify the objectives and outcome in detail, including what’s expected of them, constraints and specific processes needed to achieve the results.
- Confirm timelines and deadlines
- Identify lines of responsibility and accountability, when to defer and when to report concerns.
- Draw out any concerns they may have
- Get them involved in planning how to complete the task. Autonomy and a sense of purpose are great motivators.
- Schedule update meetings and agree on what needs to be included in progress reports.
- Provide resources or additional training
During the task:
- Provide adequate support by ensuring you are available for questions, monitoring progress and attending update meetings.
- Find the right balance of support, so that you’re not micro-managing, but they know you are available when they need you.
- Focus on the results, rather on how they are doing the work (as their methods may be very different from you, but still be successful).
- Ask them questions so that they can come to their own conclusions and solutions to issues, rather than you providing the answer.
- Help them learn from mistakes in a positive environment
- Review deadlines and any changes necessary to update meetings and progress reports.
- Accept only good quality work, as a way of setting expectations and standards for the future.
- Provide regular and appropriate feedback and recognition.
With patience, support, guidance, and clarity you can ensure that the person you are delegating to can confidently succeed in their role, enabling longer term benefits for you.