What Not to Do When You Delegate
Your job as a manager is to get the maximum return on the company’s investment in people. Effective delegation is one of the ways to do this. Delegation is also the key to effective communication and training and development in the workplace.
As much as 85% of the operating budget of any organization is invested in salaries and benefits and the question is, “Are you getting maximum return out of those people?”
Delegating is the method; it is how you develop people in business. The way you delegate determines whether they grow and expand their capabilities or they contract.
Why Delegation is Important
Most important of all is how delegating helps you fulfill your personal potential. The wonderful thing is that your potential as a manager or executive is virtually unlimited except by your ability to unleash the talents and abilities of others by effective delegation and training and development.
You have two choices in the world of work. When something has been assigned to you and you are accountable to a higher authority, you can either do it yourself or get someone else to do it by delegating. Your ability to delegate effecively, more than anything else, is going to determine your career track, your rate of promotion, your pay, your status, your position, your prestige and your success in management.
The 5 Myths That Block Effective Delegation
Often, managers do not delegate because of certain myths they hold that may or may not be true. These are mental blocks of the individual manager. Some of these you are aware of and some of them you are unconscious of. Wherever you see a poor delegator you will probably see one of these myths at work.
1) “There is not enough time to delegate tasks.”
Sometimes people are so busy and swamped they think they don’t have enough time to sit down and explain the job to someone else. They just want to get on with it. Or they may delegate the job to another person but they don’t take enough time to walk them through it. They say, “Do this and have it done by such and such a time.” They consider that to be delegation.
In reality this is not effective delegation but abdication. Remember there is always enough time for training and development. There is an old saying that, “There is never enough time to do it right, but there is always enough time to do it over.” In poorly managed organizations or work units there always seems to be enough time to do it over and correct the mistakes and misunderstandings. Take the time to delegate and communicate effectively so the task gets done right the first time.
So eliminate that delegation myth. Remember that taking the time to delegate well is the most effective investment of your time that you can engage in.
2) “The staff person isn’t competent enough to delegate this task to.”
We often have a tendency to think that the staff person is not competent enough. Very often managers underestimate the ability of their people. But the only way you can test how capable people are is to give them more to do than they’ve done before and allow them the latitude to make mistakes and to learn from them.
People will surprise you. Amazingly enough, your staff probably have competences that you have never discovered. And if you learn to tap their capabilities, not only will they get more fulfillment, but you’ll get a lot more done, which will help your career.
3) “To do it right, I have to do it myself.”
Another myth is that if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself. This idea carried to its logical conclusion guarantees failure in management. This myth will hold you back in management and condemn you to continually operating rather than managing.
The biggest reason for failure in the executive suite and management is the inability to move from doing the job to managing the job. The natural tendency is to fall back into your comfort zone and starting doing it rather than delegating it. Your job is to manage and not to operate. Delegating is also important for training and development of your staff. Teach them something new and they will appreciate you for it.
4) “People will think I’m not doing my job if I am delegating things to others.”
The next myth is that people will think you’re not on top of your job if you’ve got somebody else doing it. The opposite is true. Often executives or managers are very greedy. They want people to think they are on top of the job and know what’s going on all the time. Today you can never know what’s going on everywhere all the time. But you can always have access to the people who do know.
5) “If I’m good at something, I should just do it myself”
The final myth is that because you are particularly good at something you should do it yourself. The rule with regard to this is fairly simple: whatever you have mastered and can now do easily, delegate it and get on to something else. You should not be working on tasks that are simple and routine.
Again, the natural tendency is to fall into the habit of doing the jobs that we enjoy and keeping them for ourselves. Delegate the easy things and get on to tasks that require greater complexity and greater involvement.
Effective delegation is the key to managing in a successful business. Eliminate these myths and you will be more successful in the training and development of your employees.
To learn more about leadership and delegation skills, download my FREE Leadership Questionnaire HERE to discover if you are leading and delegating well.
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Topics included in this article include:
effective delegation, training and development, communicate effectively
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