The Management Blog
Tips & advice to help you improve your performance
While most managers realise that part of the skills they should possess is delegation, not all know how to do so successfully.
While there are many benefits to good delegation, such as empowering staff and lessening your own workload, poor delegation can create chaos and confusion. Learn More
We have often seen people on our courses who are complaining about how things are in a working environment. We know as managers that we have to spend time specifically with individuals within the team. But what can you specifically do to make sure these team members are kept motivated? Learn More
When you delegate tasks to your teammate, you should also be delegating the autonomy and ownership of that task to them. If you don’t, maybe because you have worries about how they might complete it, you undermine the value of their work and send messages of mistrust.
First of all, think of the benefits of allowing your team member to take on more responsibility… They will take greater pride in the work and its success…They will work smarter and more productively…They will use more of their creativity…And they will learn more ideas for the future
So, how do you create ownership and allow them to flourish in their new-found responsibility?
Here are some ideas…
Show them the Big Picture: This lets people feel confident and create the best results. If you do this, they will know how this project or task relates to the bigger goals. Make sure they know how their success will impact others or the organisation, and your customers.
Take a step back. Difficult, I know, but essential. If you want people to have ownership, you have to give it to them. If you want others to own a project or task, you have to turn it over to them, and let them do it. Also, when you have mentally let go of the project or task, it’s easier to concentrate on the things you need to do.
Support. Once you have delegated, you then support. Be there to guide but not direct. Be a facilitator to. If it is their responsibility, they need to own it – if you rescue them by taking it back, you destroy their confidence and show them through your actions (however well intentioned) that they never owned it to start with.
Don’t tell them the answers: When you have handed off the project, people will have questions. You will want to answer their questions, but resist. Ask them how they will solve their challenge, rather than solving it for them. Listen carefully (an important part of your support) and help when needed, but talk less and listen more.
Talk about the ‘what’ rather than the ‘how’: By telling them how the job should be done, you chip away at their creativity. Besides, you want them to own the journey as well as the end destination. So if you have an idea of how it should be done, let your teammate find or discover it, rather than show them.
Remember; what you’re trying to create are partners in the problem-solving journey. By allowing them to own the task, you get more commitment.
This is very different from them simply doing a task because you didn’t want to do it. Think of delegating tasks that will develop their skills and thinking abilities. That way, the pride in commitment grows and the instilling of ownership flourishes
I know that quite a few of you have trouble when it comes to delegating your authority – you’re just afraid to do it. I came across a tidbit of information the other day that I thought might help you. It involved distinguishing the difference between two words: abdication and delegation.
As a manager it is your job to allocate work tasks, whether you keep them for yourself or give them to your team members. When it comes to allocating that work, you can either abdicate or delegate.
When a manager participates in abdication he is giving his team members work that he should really be keeping for himself. This is not good. It doesn’t benefit the team or the project and, in reality, only opens the team up for errors and problems later on down the line.
On the other hand, when a manager delegates work he is giving his team members specific projects that were deliberately designed for the team. The tasks he delegates are designed to help the team members learn about the task and do their jobs more effectively. Tasks that are delegated are meant to help employees grow.
When you look at those two terms it makes the task of delegating a little more palatable. Know the difference between the two words and if you ever find yourself questioning a task just stop and ask yourself – am I abdicating or delegating? The answers will make your task much easier!
The delegation of authority is a difficult skill for most new managers. The first time I found myself preparing to delegate a task I had an overwhelming sense of worry. After all, up until that point I had taken responsibility for every single project I’d ever worked on. What if my team didn’t live up to my expectations?
As a manager, this is exactly the sort of thought process you need to break away from. As we’ve discussed before, you’ve chosen the members of your team for a reason – they’re all skilled enough to get the job done!
Now you simply have to learn HOW to delegate a task. There are three main components to consider:
Assigning the task is all well and good, but if your employee doesn’t have the authority to access certain files or perform certain functions than you may as well have done the project yourself. When you make the assignment you must tell your employee exactly what he has the authority to do, especially if that means granting authority he doens’t necessarily have.
You also need to make sure your employee is accountable for the project once it’s been assigned. Make it clear that the task is not optional – it must be completed within a reasonable amount of time.
The three parts of the delegation process don’t happen automatically just because you decide to delegate a task. You must clearly communicate your ideas, visions, and goals to the employees you’re working with. Make sure you touch all of the bases and you’ll have a properly completed project exactly when you expect to receive it!
I can see you right now. The thought of delegating your authority and assigning tasks to others leaves you white-knuckling your file folders in fear. Will the job be done correctly? Will the work be done on time? Stop the negative thought process right now. After all – if you really feel this way about delegating your authority you need to assess whether or not you have the right people on your team to start with.
Take a deep breath, relax, and prepare to alleviate part of your workload. Here are three things to keep in mind as you assign work to a team member or employee:
• It’s easier to complete a project if you’re working on, or at least know about, the entire project. Don’t give pieces of the project away unless you’re willing to tell your team member about the scope of the overall project. The lack of communication from not sharing this information may result in a project that doesn’t in with the rest of the puzzle.
• Do you have a vision for the outcome of the project you are giving away? Your vision and his vision may be different based on the description you give. Speak up and tell your employee what your expectations are for the project. If you don’t speak up, don’t complain about the end result not being as you expected.
• Be sure to clearly identify the timeframe within which you expect the project to be completed. Let your employee know how often you want status reports in order to ensure the project stays on track.
Delegating your authority by assigning projects doesn’t mean simply throwing a task on someone’s desk and letting the cards fall where they may. You have the responsibility to clearly communicate your expectations and work with your team member to achieve positive results.
Give it a try – I think you’ll like the results!
We make hundreds of decisions each day. While making a decision may seem like a simple task, there are a number of key factors that you need to consider in order to make sure your final decision results in the outcome you desire. I’ve found, unfortunately, that the decision making process involves much more than a simple coin toss.
The decision making process is simple. You must:
– Recognize that a decision needs to be made.
– Identify all of the various alternatives available.
– Recognize and choose the best answer.
– Implement your decision.
Easier said than done, right?
The decisions you make do not always involve problems. Some decision making situations come as a result of opportunity, where you realize you have the chance to make a change and must determine the best way to take advantage. Perhaps you’ve won the lottery, for example, and must decide how to best invest your money.
I have found that there are two main types of decisions as well. A programmed decision is one that you make on a regular basis – what to have for breakfast, what supplier you’ll use when you need to purchase printer ink, etc. Others are nonprogrammed, meaning they do not come about every day and take more time and effort to consider. Deciding whether or not to fire an inadequate employee or determining how to split an unexpected bonus amongst your team members, for example.
Your strong decision making skills coupled with your now developing communication and delegation skills will enable you to constantly stay in control of your life, team, and workplace.
Do you have an example of a difficult decision and the unique process you had to go through in order to come to an end result? If so, please share. We’d love to hear about it.
One of the most difficult things I had to learn as a young business person was effective management delegation. I was afraid to delegate tasks to those beneath me; partially because I was used to doing so much on my own and partially because I was afraid the job wouldn’t be completed to my own personal standards. Rather than take the risk, I tried to finish projects by myself and rarely asked for help. Learn More