• Delegation

    Getting Started with Delegation

    This is a guest blog post by Todd Kane, President of Evolved.

    Many business owners and managers struggle with a long list of priorities and projects. This situation continues to compound itself as an organization grows. To break free from this vicious circle of compounding responsibilities, a leader must start delegating responsibilities.

    When a leader leverages delegation they are rewarded with increased freedom to focus on the work that is more strategic to the business. When delegation is done well, it also facilitates staff autonomy. Delegation enables both management and staff to focus on activities that will produce more value for the organization.

    How to Safely Delegate

    One of the most common reasons why leaders fail to delegate their work is they feel that the work produced may not be up to the standards they require. This is best demonstrated in the common phrase, “It would take me longer to explain how to do it than to just do it myself.” Of course, this is true, but what about the time it takes you to do that task over the course of a year? Maybe the time invested in training a staff member on that activity pays off the second of the third time. Regardless it is time well invested.

    To safely delegate a new responsibility, it’s important to manage the process a little more closely until they have demonstrated competence. An easy first step is something that you should do with all task assignments. Make the first few steps in the task report to you. Instead of asking someone to complete an activity, ask them to review the activity and present a plan to you at a certain time. This allows you to review the activity with the person before they get too far off track.

    Next, you would assign the person the task of providing you an update on the task at a specific time. Notice the assignments are based on the reporting and not the completion of the tasks. The assignment is also time-bound to ensure there is clear communication of priority.

    Creating Autonomy

    Delegation takes trust and patience, but the value it creates for the manager as well as the direct is a powerful combination. It is best to discuss your planned approach with the staff member. The communication will help smooth the interaction and defend against objections like, “not wanting to be micro-managed.” Let the staff member know that your intent is to give them more autonomy and responsibility, once both parties are comfortable with the approach.

    Delegating responsibilities can sometimes create guilt for managers that are not accustomed to the practice. The truth is that top performing staff are motivated to take on your activities. They are often looking for increased responsibility, provided it is done in a fashion that they feel supported and won’t get reprimanded if they fail. This uncomfortable space is where people grow.

    As your organization grows you will need to groom talented and motivated staff to take on increased responsibilities. Leveraging delegation early in your relationship will foster better communication and trust.

    In turn, your staff will be able to operate more independently. This independence will create a greater sense of autonomy for the direct while allowing the leader to focus on more strategic activities for the business. Whether that’s training more staff in a similar fashion, enhancing workflows, or adding more sales opportunities.

    Delegation is key to scaling an organization and developing a more capable team. For more insights on management and organizational performance, check out my blog and sign up for my monthly newsletter.

    Todd Kane is the President of Evolved, which helps organizations to use proven management practices to improve their business results. His approach has produced numerous award winning teams across North America.

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