Are you one of those managers who can’t let go? Perfectionism in the workplace is an admirable trait, but having your fingers in all of the pies, all of the time isn’t going to help you be a great manager. It won’t encourage your employees to take on responsibility and make decisions either.
An inability to delegate ultimately leaves you feeling swamped. Spend all of your time crossing the ‘ts and dotting the i’s and your personal development at work, as well as your team’s development, will suffer.
Conversely, good delegation not only gets results, it builds trust and helps to create a team prepared to go the extra mile. With a great team behind you, you’ll get to spend more time coming up with new ideas and growing the business. If you really want to be successful, you need to wise-up on the art of delegation.
We’re not saying delegating is easy. As a manager, you need to make sure tasks are being done on time and to your expected high standards. Delegating is definitely a balancing act. But, delegate well, and you’ll build a dependable team keen to deliver results.
Here’s how to let go, but keep your finger on the pulse:
- Effective communication
Learning how to articulate to your team members so they will listen and subsequently deliver results is an art. The most effective starting point is to communicate the outcome you expect. That way your employees have a clear goal to work towards.
Also, make clear the parameters of the task, project or activity. Define the decision-making process and let staff know what they can make a call on and when they need to defer to you. Let the individual know why you have chosen them for a particular task. Always ask if there are any questions or concerns. Communicate effectively with a system for feedback and you’ll feel more inclined to let go.
- Systems and processes that empower
Ensure your employees have all the resources they need to do a great job. It’s no good having high expectations if the tools, systems and processes to achieve results aren’t in place. Use a work schedule planner to encourage employee responsibility and allow you to communicate any upcoming staff changes. Make sure employees have access to manuals and guides, and that they get the right training they need to do the job well.
HR software with task management and performance review features is another useful management tool. With the right systems you’ll not only free up more of your time, but you will also encourage more self-direction from your team.
- Increase accountability
Giving your staff the space to manage their own workload is incredibly empowering. Micro-management not only takes up too much of a manager’s time, it has a negative effect on staff morale.
As you begin your delegation journey, look out for those employees who need further direction and support, but do encourage them to make decisions. Ask your staff to feedback ways to improve processes and encourage open communication. With the right support your team will soon grow in confidence.
- Provide sufficient support
Keep up to date with progress, and offer support when things aren’t going to plan. Every problem just needs a solution and sometimes two heads are better than one. Foster a collaborative approach. Yes, you want to increase accountability and self-management, but you also need your team to know they have someone to turn to when they can’t find a solution alone.
- Select the right person for the task, and motivate them
Identify the best person for the task and present it in an encouraging and supportive way. That way you’ll bolster the confidence of those attempting tasks outside of their comfort zone. Get to know your people and what makes them tick, and delegate tasks accordingly. For team projects, make sure there is a good mix of abilities, talents and strengths. It’s the most likely way your project will be a success, and team members will learn new skills from each other.
The biggest mistakes managers make regarding delegation revolves around a fear of letting go (their job and tasks define them), and fearing the talent of those around them. A feeling you can do the job better probably isn’t true. Worrying that delegating will show you in a bad light isn’t true either. Improve the productivity and capabilities of your team and you’ll get as much credit, and what is more, you are more likely to make the move to a higher position.
Don’t get trapped in a cycle of ‘if you want it done properly, you must do it yourself.’ You’ll be harming your own success and that of those around you. With that attitude you’ll find yourself trapped in a cycle of burnout and missed deadlines. Getting your team to share your vision isn’t always easy, but delegating is an effective way of giving your employees a stake in outcomes.
Get ready to guide, inspire and motivate. Don’t forget you can delegate up and sideways, as well as down!