In our complex, VUCA environments we face today, no-one in your organisation, even the CEO, knows everything about everything. This requires you to rely and depend on the people who work for you to come up with ideas that would work in the real world.
Being able to delegate effectively to your team members requires trust and reliance.
Sometimes, this isn’t possible or practical, but the longer you put this key management role off, the longer you will be having to wait for results.
Remember that you employed people in your team to get things done. The less you delegate, the more those team members feel they aren’t trusted or the quicker they get bored by being unchallenged and unstretched.
Your job is to lead and develop your team’s skillsets, and delegating responsibilities is the key way you can do this. Lack of delegation is one of the major reasons staff are demotivated.
But what if you have problems delegating? What if you see delegating as too risky or you don’t have ideas on what to delegate? Here we have five problems and their solutions:
Problem: You feel nervous about delegating tasks because you’re not sure of the person’s capabilities.
Solution: Delegate small, simple jobs and then build up to more challenging ones. In effect, you are building foundations before building the real structure. You are testing the person’s capabilities and attitude before going further with them. Create a development plan for the person so they can see their progress as time moves on.
Problem: You are more competent than the team, so why delegate at all?
Solution: Remember that you employed people to do specific roles, but those roles develop in time and you don’t want people feeling they have hit a ‘ceiling’ in their development and have nowhere else to go. Their skills need developing, as delegation improves motivation. The team member feels trusted and so feels more ownership of results if they are delegated to.
See delegation as an enhancement of your skills, where you are able to have a sort of ‘apprentice’ working with you on the common tasks you are more than capable of carrying out.
Problem: You’re not sure what to delegate
Solution: Check out people’s skillsets and experience in their current role. Look at what they may well be capable of, determined by the results they are currently achieving. Test their skills in more advanced tasks. Match people with the tasks and see who stands up to the challenges
Problem: You don’t have time
Solution: This will result in you never having time for strategizing or future planning. Book out five and ten-minute slots in your calendar for delegating small tasks to staff. This will free up more of your time as people start to take over some more responsibilities. Use the time saved to plan for more delegation sessions.
Problem: You’re worried about the consequences of failure.
Solution: Your team members need their confidence boosted and as much support as you can offer. Start with small jobs that can be handled easiest, and slowly build up not more demanding ones. Assure them of your support and work with them to avoid as much failure as possible
Not every delegation situation will result in resounding success. Some team members won’t want the extra responsibility, as they just want to do their job and go home. But there will be team members to whom you can allocate responsibilities and who will relish in it and thrive in the extra challenges.
Your role is to find those people, work with them to develop their skillsets and assist them in growing and learning for possible new roles in the future.
Originally published: 4 September, 2019
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