Delegation is both a critical skill that successful leaders must demonstrate, and one often neglected by overworked managers. Delegating anything often seems like failure to many new managers, because surely, they should still be able to do everything themselves! Isn’t that why they have been promoted? So convincing yourself that delegation is one of the primary skill-sets for successful managers, is the first and most important thing to do.
A definition that Marcus Buckingham gives of Managers, as against Leaders, is ‘To deliver results through people’. So make sure that your people are the ones implementing and doing a large chunk of the work that perhaps previously you did, is one aspect to look at. Secondly check how much of your time is spent delegating, as against doing things yourself.
Here are three steps to decide what can come off your plate:
How to choose what to delegate:
1. Identify tasks only you can do. To be successful, begin to sift what is coming into your in-tray or towards you from other people and take time to consider whether someone else in your team can do that, or only you? Take a look at your workload and identify tasks, projects, or functions that require your specific skills or level of authority.
2. Sort the rest. Take a look at everything else on your list and determine what others can easily do, what requires coaching for others to do, and what needs outsourcing. Spend time with each person that reports to you thinking through anything from your list as something that they can do. Ask them what they enjoy doing and then identify what’s on your list that you can give away. Take the time to coach and help each person grasp the significance and impact of each of the tasks you’re giving, as well as the step by step doing of it.
3. Keep what makes you happy. Don’t give away the things that you most enjoy even if others can do them. Delegation should increase your job satisfaction, not detract from it. How well do you know yourself? When do you feel energised by what you’re doing – that’s the marker you should look for. When activities put you into flow and you feel charged, rather than depleted by doing something, then keep these activities for yourself. Take the Talent Dynamics assessment to get some external validation for the things that you are good at, and you enjoy. Those are the things you should keep, because this is where your greatest value sits, for yourself and for your organisation.
2 July 2014