“An empowered organization is one in which individuals have the knowledge, skill, desire, and opportunity to personally succeed in a way that leads to collective organizational success.” - Stephen R. Covey
So you think that delegating means you can unload all those tasks that you really don’t care to do? Unfortunately, we all probably realize that we can’t just delegate the tasks that nobody wants to do. Within an organization, there are distinct advantages to delegating to others.
When you delegate tasks, it creates motivation within the individuals on your team, as well as free up your time as the manager. Delegating also provides a learning environment to train your team members for future roles in management. While delegating has many benefits, many struggle with how to properly delegate to achieve maximum benefits for the individual as well as the organization.
Delegation can be one of the most difficult managerial attributes to successfully implement. The adverse affects can be both severe and lasting when implemented ineffectively. It is essential with delegating to understand the tasks that can be delegated and those which cannot. Delegation is not giving someone else the dirty work. Delegation is giving someone else a task or responsibility that has until now, been a part of your role. This task or responsibility should be suited to the employee’s skills and ability while providing them with the opportunity for growth and development. When your employees start to make their own decisions and complete tasks, it creates less stress on the management resources and also raises the level of personal motivation with the team members.
When a task is delegated, you retain the authority, but you assign the responsibility to someone else. You have empowered them to complete that task. For managers that struggle with delegating, it may be appropriate to begin delegating with small steps. This can provide a method for easing into delegation both for the manager and the employee.
There are “degrees of delegation” that can make it easier for you to test your ability to delegate effectively. As a manager, you decide which degree is appropriate by considering the nature of the task, the ability of the person doing the work, and the amount of time available to complete the task.
Investigate and report back
The employee investigates and brings you the facts. You make the appropriate decision and take action.
Investigate and recommend action
In this scenario, the employee investigates or researches, identifies options available, and recommends a course of action to be taken. You evaluate the recommendation, make the decision, and take action.
Investigate and advise on action planned
The employee researches, identifies options, and decides on a course of action, complete with justification. You evaluate the decision made, and approve or veto the action to be taken.
Investigate and take action; then advise you
The employee researches, identifies options, decides which option is best, takes action, then advises you immediately, so you have a firm handle on what’s going on.
Investigate and take action
The employee is turned loose. This is full delegation and displays your complete faith in the individual's ability. You will be kept informed through regular reporting procedures.
Once you have selected the appropriate “degree” of delegation to utilize for a situation, a process can be followed for successfully delegating to an individual. The process to follow when delegating to employees is as follows:
1. Select the Appropriate Resource
Your team is comprised of a many individuals with different and unique talents. Make certain that you select the most appropriate team member to handle a task.
2. Define Your Goals
Let the individual know exactly what you expect as a result of the project. This information should be communicated clearly and in writing. This allows you to compare the results to the specified goals at the end of the project.
As stated in the previous topic, empowerment is required for a delegated task to be completed without the manager intervening at every milestone in the project. Make certain that the desired results are made clear, but not necessarily the methods for achieving those results.
Throughout the process, the manager should request regular communications on the progress, issues, accomplishments, and assistance required from the team member. The manager should not take ownership of the tasks, but should be updated on the progress regularly.
5. Review and Reward
Upon completion, the manager should review the results of the project with the team member with a focus on end results. If the results fell short of the goal or expectations, the manager should review the challenges the team member experienced, discussing methods for improving next time.
Delegating is good for both the development of the manager and the employee. As the manager learns how to let go of certain tasks, the employee improves their own skills and personal motivation as a result of taking on new tasks. The manager gains more available time to focus on other issues and suffers less stress as a result of tasks being removed from their to-do list. And remember, just because delegating doesn’t mean giving someone else the dirty work, that doesn’t mean that it won’t ever happen!
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