People often feel that if they want things to be done right then they must do it themselves. It is common but untrue and is probably an old wives myth taught to children to get their work done themselves. However, in the world of business doing everything yourself and not delegating work is an obstruction for the efficiency of workflow and also the development of your business management competency. The art of management is the balance between the ways of an absolutist and the ways of an insurgent, it’s literally right in the middle!
The need for delegation : Being one of the leading pillars of your organization, it becomes your responsibility to look into the business management competency development of your direct reports. Delegating some of your work to your direct reports will motivate them, build morale, create a sense of encouragement, initiative and innovation and also will allow you to measure and assess the development of their business management competency skills. Apart from these selfless motives, the selfish motive of not drawing yourself too thin is an important concern. Sometimes, you are piled up with work and having to do everything yourself will cause your deliverable to lack effectiveness or efficiency. Delegation also promotes team spirit because while you delegate work among your direct reports, you are creating an environment of dependency and once accomplished. They will feel like they have made a significant contribution to the organization as a team.
How to Delegate: Most tasks fail to be done right the first time around because of the lack of instructions given to carry out the task. This is a vital failure of your business management competency. It is important to have a focused vision for the task. You must figure out exactly what you expect from the task, the deadlines for the task and the budget for the task. Write down key pointers to give out to your team before you delegate the work to them. Create a framework and a work flow chart, create incremental milestones, tell them the budget of the project and the resources available for them to use. The true measure of your business management competency is how well you can manage your direct reports while also managing your own core responsibilities in the organization.
Following are some tips on how to delegate.
- Decide what to Delegate: With strong business management competencies, you must understand that your job as a leader is already hard. Apart from the number of direct reports, you also have your own tasks to take care of. If you try to micromanage, the whole task is likely to fail. Delegate as much as you can. Make a list of your direct reports and compare their competencies to the tasks and delegate! Ask your direct reports what tasks they would like to take on. Either give them the whole task or analyze and divide the tasks into smaller parts and delegate each part to an individual as per their competency and choice.
- Be Flexible about the Process: All competent leaders understand the need to allow their direct reports to develop business management competencies by giving them the freedom to use their own work style to complete the delegated tasks and without any fixed boundaries or guidelines to carry out the task. Your direct reports will be more energized, empowered and determined when they decide how to conclude their tasks successfully. Explain the importance of the task delegated to them and the impact it would have on your department. Give them the big picture but allow them to fill in the details the way they want. This will also show them that you trust them with your task and that would also motivate them to take initiatives in the future.
- Decide whom to Delegate: Segregate your tasks into three sections that are incremental in the level of difficulty. Recognize the people among all your direct reports who have the business management competencies required to carry out the tasks. Use the mid-level tasks as a way to test the business management competencies of the direct reports whom you are doubtful about. If they succeed in carrying out the tasks, it calls for acknowledgment and applauds. However, if they don’t you don’t want to be hanging with incomplete tasks, so keep them in your loop and always schedule these tasks into your planner beforehand. If you see them taking the task down south, jump in and take over! You don’t want incompetence in your team and so, reconsider their role and necessity in your organization in the future. As a leader, you might have to either train or mentor them and in extreme cases, hire somebody more competent, instead of wasting time and resources of the organization as well as that individual.
- Give ample Amount of Time: As a leader, your business management competencies are far greater than your direct reports. Some leaders of organization expect the same level of work in the same amount of time they would take from their direct reports. If they could do that, you might as well give them your chair. When you delegate a task, the best way to formulate a timeline and a deadline is to mutually plan it with the person the task is being delegated to. Use your business management competencies as a point of reference to compare with theirs and plan their resources, time and budget in that incremental ratio.
- Eyes Over the Shoulder: Believe in the carefully thought out decision that you have made about your assignments to the assignee’s. If you constantly intervene, the development of their business management competencies will be stunted and also, the basic idea of delegation would be counterproductive. Set milestones in terms of dates or stages of completion where you could take a look at their work and give them valuable feedback and set them back to work at the same pace. However, keep your doors open in case of doubts or suggestions for change. Jump in and interfere only when they are not keeping up with the expectations or task criteria.
Bear in mind that delegation is not just an easy away to drop your pile of work on your direct report’s desk. It is both, an art and a science of nurturing your subordinates. As a leader, recognize the thin line between micromanaging and workplace nurturing. Delegation is handing over tasks to your direct reports with the absolute authority to complete it the way they want to. However, also provide them with open doors and ears for support, guidance and help when they are in the need for it.