If you head a company and do not delegate tasks as a matter of routine or search for opportunities when you can delegate, then you are on a path to self-destruction.
Several middle-level managers hesitate to delegate work. The reason is unclear, but perhaps they fear that delegation may affect the quality of work. Delegation frees up time, develops the skills of the staff, helps to build and sustain a progressive, strong, and dynamic culture in the workplace.
Before we proceed to understand how you can master the art of delegation, we must familiarize ourselves with what delegation entails. Only after that we can generate an effective outcome.
There are many definitions of delegation. The most common one says that delegation is when you assign authority or responsibility to coworkers or subordinates, but you remain responsible for getting the work completed or for the end results.
Delegation is required under various circumstances and it can be understood in the following contexts:
- People Management: You can give one of your employees a task (or a portion of it) to complete, which you do at present, and you want to develop their skill sets and assess whether the employees are interested in other functions or areas within the company apart from the present responsibility that they carry out.
- Project management: According to the requirements of a project, you want to have the employee with a specific skill set to execute or manage the project.
- Organizational management: This is enforced when senior management has made a resolution to develop and sustain an employee-centered culture that promotes the development of the employees’ skills. In this context, delegation is pursued for all kinds of reasons, but mainly to secure the organization’s future through internally groomed leaders, employees and subject matter experts who have the ability to back others when required to do so.
Perceived reasons for non-delegation
A few commonly stated excuses for not delegating important tasks are:
- The employee will not be able to understand what I want and there is no time to train the employee.
- No one can do a better job with this than me
- There is a strong possibility that the employee will fail in the task and I will be blamed
- The employees have no time
- If I train my employees, they will leave my company
- I do not trust my employees
- It is quite possible that the employee can do a better job than me and I will be exposed
- I want to be seen as indispensable
- I do not know the art of delegating
Benefits of delegation
There are many benefits if you delegate tasks:
- Reduce workload: You can offload any tasks related to project management. The delegation of project work comes to focus on a daily basis and is not at all strategic. If it is a strategic task, then it should be exclusively your job.
- Share the authority: Giving the power to the leadership team to tackle projects and seeing them to their conclusion not only frees your time and saves your energy, but it also provides the leadership team with the opportunity to develop their own capabilities .
- Expanding the team experience: The term “cross pollination” is applied when progressive thinking leaders dedicate time on cross-training or coaching employees to help the development of particular functional skill sets which are required to manage tasks within the organization. Developing the leadership team via delegation is a better way to prepare the team for future opportunities and challenges.
- Continuity planning: Delegation prepares employees to take on challenging tasks in the absence of the top level management. It also ensures continuity and smooth transition in the event of employees leaving the organization.
- Building a legacy: Every CEO has a common dream; to leave the company in a better condition than he or she found it to be. Delegation is the easiest path to achieve this dream.
- Increasing the spotters: Delegating brings in a core team which develops the ability to spot trouble before it can happen. There can be a number of people who possess leadership qualities in the team and who can give great suggestions, and therefore there will be no blind spots to negotiate.
- Broad development in company culture: Delegation can help you build and sustain the company culture in a forward thinking and progressive manner. When business partners, customers, and employees are assured of a well-balanced team, they will be more trusting of your capability as an organization.
Benefits for the team
The team enjoys a number of irreplaceable benefits:
- Development and enrichment: Delegation of tasks to team members will expand their experience and knowledge base. This will increase overall satisfaction and make them more suitable for the broader market.
- Employees get the mentality of ownership: When you have helped to develop the skill sets present in others, they automatically help you by guarding against pitfalls for the company. They become less focused on their position and become more organizationally oriented, to the extent of doing beyond what their job entails.
- Contribution: Everybody wants to be a part of leadership decisions. In cases like this, the leadership team must be cooperative.
You must resist the impulse to take the common approach when delegating the tasks to employees. It may be required of you to tweak the methods according to the needs of the day.