"The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he/she
wants to do it"
-Dwight D. Eisenhower
Delegation is a
One the one hand,
it’s a great way to empower one of your team members by giving him/her a
project or task that will stretch creativity, foster growth, and add dimension
to his/her abilities. On the other
hand, delegation often adds more stress to an already overworked employee.
is the standard for the new millennium. Look
at the employment section of any newspaper in the country, and you’re sure to
find that word in many job descriptions. With
leaner workforces, employees are expected to wear many hats and to take on many
projects and more workloads. Multi-tasking
is now simply part of the work culture and delegating plays an enormous role.
leader must decide what to delegate, how much, when, and to whom.
A leader must be objective and ask him/herself these questions:
I giving this project away because I don’t want to do it?”
I keeping this project because I like doing it?”
I doing this task because I don’t trust anyone else to do it?”
I avoiding training someone else to do this project because it will take too
I really want to help my team members feel empowered and motivated by delegating
projects and tasks that will help them develop and grow in their job/careers?”
is the successful transfer of authority to someone else.
Note the word “authority.” When a supervisor/manager delegates a project or task, some very
important factors are involved two of which are:
1. Information – all that is needed to get started and the resources to
find more information and data.
2. Authority – the ability to act on the leader’s behalf. This also includes the responsibility and the accountability for
implementing and completing the assignment.
effective leaders know, adults love challenge…oh, they might grumble and
complain a bit at first about the extra work, but with the right explanation,
encouragement, and support, they feel they are doing meaningful work. One advantage of delegation is to keep high performing team members
interested and to raise the level of low performers. The trick is to identify those project and tasks that are appropriate for
both types. An effective leader is
“tuned into” each team member and is able to delegate the right assignment
to the appropriate person.
is a wonderful tool of efficiency. Once
a supervisor/manager feels comfortable with delegating, the rewards will reveal
themselves because: Delegation is
one way of working smarter not harder!
advantages of delegation are:
can take on more responsibilities by delegating tasks to subordinates.
close to the “front line” usually have a clearer view of the facts; this
leads to better problem solving and decisions.
speeds up decision making when subordinates are authorized to make decisions. This leads to using better judgment and accepting responsibilities,
leading to self-confidence and better initiative.
for Successful Delegation
Measurable and Concrete Objectives.
is the map. The leader can clearly
know all the steps and some of the problems involved in the assignment by laying
out the objectives or goals at the beginning. This helps in determining the best person for the job. The leader delivers all the needed information, stressing the importance
and the seriousness of the task. Be
prepared for questions. Also,
schedule ample time for this crucial initial meeting.
and Discuss the Reporting System.
is the feedback leaders need to track progress. It should be clear and specific: What
do you want, how do you want it, and when? Make sure your expectations are clear. The reporting system must be user-friendly and clear to the team member
doing the project. Check to see if
additional training is needed, i.e., Excel, Access, etc.
a Realistic Deadline.
is the completion date. Consider
the factors of time and resources; your thinking should be objective and
realistic or your team member will experience frustration and stress by feeling
rushed. Long and complicated projects need clear checkpoints along
the Right Person.
is knowing your team members. It’s
always easy to pick the willing person or the high performer who never lets you
down. Instead, consider the
difficult person or the low performer who has potential. A leader instinctively knows more time, support, and training is needed
for some people, and the rewards in these cases will be greater with increased
self-esteem. Also, it’s important
to be sure there are no underlying motives on your part against the person you
choose, especially if it’s an assignment that’s unpleasant or very
difficult. Resist the temptation to
“get even” with someone by giving him/her a bad assignment; this behavior
will undermine a leader’s trust and credibility.
the Results – Not the Details.
will keep you sane. If the assignment has clear objectives, reporting systems,
and deadline and if the information and authority has been delegated correctly,
this rule should prevent a leader from listening to every detail of the
project. After all, it was
delegated just so every detail would not be time consuming for the
supervisor/manager. If the leader
has appointed a novice to head the project, more time for one-on-ones is needed. The leader uses mentoring and coaching skills to gently remind the person
of the authority and responsibility he/she has to handle all the details of the
the Right Amount of Authority.
tells your person how far they can go on your behalf. The authority delegated should be clear and the boundaries well defined:
action. No further contact with me is necessary. (Usually a short project or
action and stay in touch. Let me
know by written report or an informal meeting what you did.
into this problem. Report back to
me with your intentions before implementing any action.
into this problem and put together an action plan with a time frame. Report back to me for my approval.
into this problem and put together alternative action plans with your
recommendations. Delay implementation until you get the go ahead from me. (Usually needs a written report and approval from upper management.)
into this situation. Give me all
the facts. I’ll decide what to
do. (Usually needs investigation of
facts, no recommendations; should be able to draw conclusions from the report.)
Solve All the Problems.
will instill empowerment and motivation. Adults
have a natural tendency to problem solve. Leaders
know they must allow their people to solve problems with creativity and hands-on
trial and error. Leaders must
resist the urge to give all the answers because they know adults learn best by
their mistakes. Leaders let people
“fail” – every “misteak”* is an opportunity to increase competence and
self-esteem. This builds
empowerment and positive attitudes and avoids finger pointing and an “who’s
to blame” attitude. Everyone
benefits when failures are overcome with successes.
a Job Well Done!
success! Depending on the size of
the project or task, the amount of praise is important. Whether it’s a pat on the back or a team party, effective leaders pick
the appropriate celebration and take the time to note the success. This will motivate others and promote a willingness to take on more
assignments. Also, this is an
opportunity for a leader to share the lessons learned, the obstacles overcome,
and the problems solved. In
addition, it’s a good tool for individual performance evaluation.
can be many problems with delegating. The
first step in solving these problems is identifying the barriers. (Look at these situations closely and see if any pertain to you.)
of a supervisor/manager to delegate. Usually
it is due to thinking such as : “I
can do it better”; “My team members are not able or trained”; “It will
take me more time to explain what needs to be done than it will for me to do
of supervisor/manager to delegate. This
is simply a fear of loss of power. Other
reasons: being accountable for the
poor performance of team members which could reflect negatively on the leader;
the team member may do the project better than the supervisor/manager; being too
disorganized to plan ahead and set up reporting system.
of confidence of supervisor/manager in delegating. Some leaders are not comfortable training or teaching others. On the other hand, some supervisors/managers have a superiority complex
and think no one could possibly know as much.
on the part of the team members to accept assignments delegated to them. Some want the boss to make all the decisions. Others fear the possible criticism or negative feedback they
may receive. Still others just
don’t want the stress of working harder or there just isn’t the incentive in
place to make getting assignments attractive.
Barriers to Delegation
effective leaders are willing to give the freedom and authority to their team
through delegation. Leaders know
there are many different ways to solve a problem even though it might not be the
same solution the leader has in mind. Leaders
know about synergy and want to achieve a high level through group/team problem
solving by improving communication and mutual understanding. The team begins to feel support and appreciation through recognition of a
job well done. Over time, a leader
increases the number and complexity of these assignments, challenging his/her
team members. A leader knows the
value of continuous training and improvement for successful contributions to a
company’s overall production and growth.
If you are
in this book,
we are offering a
Please click on it
this book, Covey gives real insight into leadership effectiveness and personal
development. The following is his thoughts on delegating:
people in meaningful projects. Meaningful
projects have a healing influence on people. However, what is meaningful to a manager may be meaningless to a
subordinate. Projects take on meaning when people are involved in the
planning and thinking processes. We
all need to be engaged in a good cause. Without
such projects, life loses its meaning; in fact, the life span is short for
people who retire, looking for a tensionless state. Life is sustained by tension between where we are now and
where we want to be-some goal worth struggling for.”
effectively. Effective delegation takes emotional courage as we allow, to
one degree or another, others to make mistakes on our time, money, and good
name. This courage consists of
patience, self-control, faith in the potential of others, and respect for
individual differences. Effective
delegation must be two-way: responsibility
given, responsibility received. There are three phases. First, the initial agreement. People
have a clear understanding of what is expected and what the resources,
authority, latitude, and guidelines are. Second, sustaining the delegates. The supervisor becomes a source of help, the advocate, not
the feared adversary. He provides
resources, removes obstacles, sustains actions and decisions, gives vision,
provides training, and shares feedback. Third,
the accountability process. This is
largely one of self-evaluation, since delegates are supervised by results, by
actual performance.” At all times show people you are there to provide all the support. Team work is a synergy, we are a team to achieve better results
conclusion, if delegating is new to you, be courageous and start small.
Remember, you will make some “misteaks”* and have much success. Lead from your heart and use your head. I can speak from experience it always works!
Word -mistake- deliberately misspelled
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