Have you ever thought to yourself, “I’ll just do it myself, it’s easier that way.”
We all have tasks that come across our desks that seem like they are fairly easy to do, and will only take a few minutes of our time. Why bother delegating it to an employee? Yet the harsh reality of it is the more you keep these tasks to yourself, the more they add up into a time-consuming and wasteful day.
As a manager, if you take on every role and wear every hat within the business, you’ll limit how much that business can grow. The only way a business can grow to its full potential is if you learn to effectively delegate the smaller tasks that others can do.
Delegation is a learned trait. And with just a little practice and foresight, you can quickly learn which tasks are better assigned to people on your team.
Start by learning to let go. Do you see yourself as a micromanager? Have you routinely fallen into the “do it yourself” trap? That’s okay, recognizing it is the first step in letting go. Micromanagement is a waste of your efforts and will eventually demotivate the team members around you. If you recognize yourself in this statement, the first step is to learn to let go. Delegate a little. As they do a good job, release more to them. If you really see them struggle, it’s time to find an alternative. Are they really the right person for the job? Is someone else on the team better situated for the task?
What to delegate, and what not. What should you delegate? In reality, as much as you can. If you are a manager, your tasks should be limited to:
- Developing key strategy
- Building relationships
- Working on only the important tasks that make a difference to either of these processes
All else should be delegated to someone else. Never delegate work simply because you don’t enjoy it, or keep the best tasks for yourself. This can be demoralizing and leave your staff feeling like they aren’t a part of the team.
Delegate based on strengths. This is where relationship building and teamwork comes into play. You should never delegate simply to get something off of your desk. Instead, learn the strengths of everyone around you, and assign tasks based on where their strengths lie. One person’s chore is another person’s passion. And by playing towards strengths, you will create a happier team overall.
Spend your time teaching. A big part of your job should be building relationships. And part of that process is training them to be better team players for the job. If you spend the time teaching skills the first time, they will better positioned the next time the task comes around. Invest both time and resources in helping coworkers stretch their skill sets and build up their judgement muscles. The more they learn to do on their own, the better assets they become for the team.
Always offer feedback. Poor delegation comes from not giving a person the right tools for the job. If you don’t communicate true expectations, and don’t offer the right tools that will allow them to complete the job satisfactorily, it’s setting both sides up for failure. Likewise, if you don’t offer feedback throughout the process, and give thorough credit where it is due, a team member won’t feel valued. Don’t slip into the mistake of giving negative feedback only. Positive feedback helps your team grow and gives the motivation they need to continue doing a good job.