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Encouraging Effective Delegation

Not enough hours in the day? Maybe you need to learn to delegate!

Whilst delegation often sounds like the answer to a busy manager’s prayers, it seems that many managers are reluctant to hand over the baton to a team member, but why? A fear of losing control, a reluctance to “dump” work on a team member, or perhaps a lack of confidence in knowing how to.

In many organisations, employees are promoted to management positions due to their expertise in particular task or business areas, thus it becomes difficult to take a step back from what you’re good at and manage those completing tasks for you.

When planned and considered carefully, delegation has many benefits: freeing up your time to manage; developing your staff; helping your staff to feel valued and trusted; and getting tasks completed in the most cost effective way for the business. So, with this in mind, here are a few tips to help you plan and prepare to delegate successfully.

  • Think about the performance of the person you wish to delegate to – if they’ve been underperforming, or struggling to meet deadlines recently, you may want to rethink adding to their workload.

  • Think about the task itself – does it fit in with the person’s skills, job purpose, developmental goals? What are realistic timescales? What skills and resources will be needed to complete the task?

  • Plan a meeting to communicate – prepare with notes, find somewhere quiet, allow plenty of time for discussion and questions and think about the time of day (4:45pm on a Friday is probably not the best time for most people!)

  • Build in a contingency plan – think about what could go wrong and how you could react

  • Consider how you will manage the situation if your team member doesn’t “buy in”. How will you sell the benefits?

  • Make sure that you are as prepared to delegate the interesting jobs as well as those that you find boring – otherwise your staff will dread you asking them to do anything!

  • If the task is complex, plan in plenty of review time to give your employee confidence that they are on track.

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