Delegation versus abdication – are you an effective delegator?
How often do you get to the end of a work day and wonder where the time went? You barely dented your to-do list, let alone completed it. Delegation, either to internal team members or external contractors, is a great way to free up your precious diary space. But is it that simple?
As with anything involving people, delegation is not an exact science. Different approaches are needed depending on who you’re trusting with your task. Delegating work effectively requires effort and time. Indeed, the initial time invested in handing over the task will likely be greater than if you simply did the job yourself – but the longer-term impact, for example, empowering and upskilling employees, can have great mutual benefits.
The “It’s faster if I just do it myself” mindset is a productivity trap, often preventing the development of new and better methods. If you teach someone your way, they can master it and add their own value, and they’re also likely to appreciate the opportunity for personal development and be more engaged in their role.
“No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit.” – Andrew Carnegie
Don’t confuse delegation with abdication. When you delegate, the buck stops with you; you are still responsible for the task being completed successfully.
What abdication looks like:
1. Issuing a task to anyone and forgetting about it, likely prompting distrust and a lack of respect.
2. Providing insufficient or unclear information. Giving “free rein” typically causes poor ongoing communication and lots of assumptions.
3. Assuming the team member immediately understood the task and expectations, often results in procrastination, re-work, low productivity and, potentially, poor morale.
4. Not setting a timeframe, causing delays and budget blowouts.
5. Not reviewing outcomes, leading to resentment and an increased likelihood of future mistakes and issues.
What delegation looks like:
1. Assessing the task, assigning the right person and supporting them throughout, thus building mutual trust and respect.
2. Communicating clearly and precisely, using language and methods that resonate with the individual. This will build a stronger connection.
3. Asking the team member to repeat back instructions to ensure they have clarity. This will minimise procrastination and re-work, and increase confidence and productivity.
4. Setting a clear timeframe and requesting regular updates until the task is complete. This increases the likelihood of the job being completed on time.
5. Reviewing outcomes with the team member. Taking time to discuss what went well and what could be done differently next time will improve future outcomes for all involved.
First steps in delegation
The best way to start investigating the benefits of delegation is by making a list. Think about:
• Which tasks could I delegate?
• Who would be the best person to assign? How could the tasks be a valuable part of their career development?
• What training is needed?
• What’s expected of each task, and what is the best process? What systems should be created?
• What other support will I need to offer for improved productivity? For example, will weekly check-ins be required to ensure success?
Delegation is a skill you can learn. It’s also an investment in your people and your time freedom – and that’s a genuine win-win.
Delegation is an investment in your people and YOUR time freedom. It’s also a learned skill. Pathfinder Solutions can help you put the processes and systems in place for a more productive and profitable business. #BeBetter #GetYourTimeBack #DevelopYourTeam
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