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We are all guilty of taking on too much at times. Delegation can be an important skill to allow us to prioritize and perform tasks in an efficient manner, and this article will show you how to do it.
Whether you are working in a small or large company, running the entire operation yourself or tasked with managing a department within an organisation, you will at some stage realise – no one person can do everything.
In general when we speak of delegation two types of individuals emerge:
Those who off load everything, and
Those you cannot let go of anything.
For the purpose of this conversation we are going to concentrate on the later.
If you are a manager or business owner you will reach a point when you simply cannot do everything and you have to delegate some tasks for the betterment of the company. When carried out correctly, delegation results in a win/win situation. It allows you to use your time more effectively and it also helps other employees grow their knowledge, confidence and value to the business. The end result is that the entire company gets the best from all its employees. Below are four simple tips which we believe will help you loosen the reins a little without letting go entirely.
Delegate up and down
Firstly, isolate the tasks that need to be done to complete the overall job and then separate these into tasks that only you can do.
Secondly, identify the tasks that require little or no expertise and are easy to perform. ‘Delegate down’ to a staff member who is capable and willing to do these tasks.
Thirdly, identify the tasks that require specialist knowledge or experience. Chose which members of staff are best placed to undertake these tasks and then delegate up.
Don’t just dump. Delegate with responsibility.
The ‘dumping the dirty work’ category is the one that a lot of people fall into when they start delegating tasks. DON’T DO IT. No matter how big or small the task is, don’t pass over something you just can’t be bothered doing yourself. Pass the task with responsibility. Let the employee know how important the successful completion of the task is to the entire job. If you just dump things on people with no sense of importance, then that is exactly how they will approach and complete the job.
Be patient. Don’t hover.
Invest your time and explain fully to the employee what is required of them. Set timelines if necessary and if there are some specific ways or methods you want used, show the employee how you want the job done. Then step away and let the person get on with the job. You have to trust the person to do the job. So avoid interfering and ‘dropping in’ to see how things are going. Operate on an ‘monitor and support’ basis where the member of staff can ask questions, clarify details or seek further guidance and where you are not micromanaging but still retaining a level of control.
Praise publicly, correct privately.
Always let the employee know how they are performing. If they have completed the task well, let them know and if you have the opportunity to do it in front of other employees, do so. This not only creates a feel good factor for the individual but sends out the right message to the rest of the team. If an employee has failed at the task, you must also address this issue. Let them know, show them where they went wrong and refine procedures so that the errors can be avoided next time. Do this on a one-to-one basis, never in public.
Whether you are growing a small business or running all or part of a larger organisation, the ability to delegate is an important business skill. Trying to do everything yourself will stunt the growth of your business and most likely result in personal problems. Ask yourself ‘what are the consequences to both yourself and the business of not delegating?’ Loose the fear of delegation.
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