Delegation - Essential to your Success
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How do you find the time to develop your people? Delegation both frees up
your time and can develop your people. It also increases productivity, morale
and commitment. As the economy becomes more dependent on knowledge, managers
need to delegate to be effective leaders. The number one reason for management
failure is an inability to delegate.
So, why don't managers delegate? The following are common reasons with my
1. They think it's easier and more efficient to do it on their own. In the
beginning, that is probably true! However, if they continue to do it on their
own, their employees will never learn how to do it and they will be stuck doing
it, as opposed to having more time to focus on more strategic initiatives.
2. Some managers simply aren't sure how to do it correctly. Delegation is
both an art and a science. There are some basics in terms of doing it—find the
right person, set clear expectations, settle on a regular check-in time. There
is also the art of knowing people well enough to know how much they can handle;
to stretch them without breaking them.
3. Other managers have a lack of trust in their people. These managers need
to work on developing that trust. If they don't trust their employees, it is
quite likely their employees don't trust them. Building trust is essential to
retention of employees. That can be done by getting to know them on a more
personal level (within reason, of course!) and by showing them trust—including
delegation. In other words, one way to start trusting your people is to just do
it—delegate to them and trust that it will get done well. When you have put the
correct systems in place (discussed in detail below) you mitigate the risk of
someone failing in a delegated project.
4. Finally, other managers have the perception that there is nobody they
could delegate to. Many managers tell me that everyone is too busy. Realize that
delegating may require you to help some of your employees prioritize their work
more. In other cases, nobody reports to the person so they assume they can't
delegate. There may be other people in your company who would be better suited
for some of your tasks. Talk to your manager about who could take on some of
The University of Michigan did a study that found that 70% of managers' work
could be delegated. To delegate more of your tasks do the following exercise:
1. In a two week period, list all of the tasks that you perform. Be as
detailed as possible (in other words, instead of listing "responded to e-mails",
track which ones take a while to reply to or require action to be taken).
2. At the end of that time period, decide which ones you could delegate to
someone else. Focus on full projects, as opposed to individual tasks. Be
creative—for example, realize that you do not need to attend every meeting that
you are invited to.
3. Decide who would be the best person to delegate to, keeping in mind each
person's strengths, needs for improvements and workload.
4. Finally, put in place a structure to delegate, including clear
expectations and check-in points. If things are not getting done correctly,
evaluate whether it is a training issue or an ability issue. If it is training,
work with the person to make sure they get the knowledge they need. Coach them
when possible. If it is an ability issue, re-evaluate what responsibilities that
person has. If things are not being done in a timely manner, address it
immediately with the person.
Finally, make sure that you are delegating authority with a project. This
will save you time in not having the person continually coming back to you
asking for permission to make decisions.
Delegation is a practice that can be developed over time, learned by
observing great managers do it and honed through coaching. It will greatly
enhance your abilities as a leader, through helping you develop your people and
allowing you to focus on more strategic work.
About the Author
Kerrie Halmi of Halmi Performance Consulting specializes in increasing
women's success in business through speaking, coaching and facilitation. Kerrie
has over fifteen years of experience in the Human Resources field with such
clients as eBay, Wells Fargo and Kaiser. She received her MBA from the
University of Michigan and is certified in coaching with Corporate Coach
University International. See
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-11-15 17:38:06 in Business Articles