Even "Super You" needs help and support. There is no shame in asking for assistance. Push aside the pride and show respect for the talent others can bring to the table.
And, remember that there is no such thing as a single-handed success: when you include and acknowledge all those in your corner, you propel yourself, your teammates and your supporters to greater heights.– Author Unknown
Do you feel stressed and overloaded? Or that your career seems stalled? If so, then you may need to brush up your delegation skills!
If you work on your own, there's only a limited amount that you can do, however hard you work. You can only work so many hours in a day. There are only so many tasks you can complete in these hours. There are only so many people you can help by doing these tasks. And, because the number of people you can help is limited, your success is limited.
However, if you're good at your job, people will want much more than this from you. This can lead to a real sense of pressure and work overload: you can't do everything that everyone wants, and this can leave you stressed, unhappy, and feeling that you're letting people down.
On the positive side, however, you're being given a tremendous opportunity if you can find a way around this limitation. If you can realize this opportunity, you can be genuinely successful!
One of the most common ways of overcoming this limitation is to learn how to delegate your work to other people. If you do this well, you can quickly build a strong and successful team of people, well able to meet the demands that others place. This is why delegation is such an important skill, and is one that you absolutely have to learn!
To figure out how to delegate properly, it's important to understand why people avoid it. Quite simply, people don't delegate because it takes a lot of up-front effort.
After all, which is easier: designing and writing content for a brochure that promotes a new service you helped spearhead, or having other members of your team do it? You know the content inside and out. You can spew benefit statements in your sleep. It would be relatively straightforward for you to sit down and write it. It would even be fun! The question is, "Would it be a good use of your time?"
While on the surface it's easier to do it yourself than explain the strategy behind the brochure to someone else, there are two key reasons that mean that it's probably better to delegate the task to someone else:
Delegation allows you to make the best use of your time and skills, and it helps other people in the team grow and develop to reach their full potential in the organization.
Delegation is a win-win when done appropriately, however, that does not mean that you can delegate just anything. To determine when delegation is most appropriate there are five key questions you need to ask yourself:
If you can answer "yes" to at least some of the above questions, then it could well be worth delegating this job.
Other factors that contribute to the delegability of a task include:
That being said, having all these conditions present is no guarantee that the delegated task will be completed successfully either. You also need to consider to whom you will delegate the task and how you will do it.
Having decided to delegate a task there are some other factors to consider as well. As you think these through you can use our free Delegation Worksheet to keep record of the tasks you choose to delegate and who you want to delegate them to.
The factors to consider here include:
When you first start to delegate to someone, you may notice that he or she takes longer than you do to complete tasks. This is because you are an expert in the field and the person you have delegated to is still learning. Be patient: if you have chosen the right person to delegate to, and you are delegating correctly, you will find that he or she quickly becomes competent and reliable.
Use the following principles to delegate successfully:
In thoroughly considering these key points prior to and during the delegation process you will find that you delegate more successfully.
Now, once you have worked through the above steps, make sure you brief your team member appropriately. Take time to explain why they were chosen for the job, what's expected from them during the project, the goals you have for the project, all timelines and deadlines and the resources on which they can draw. And agree a schedule for checking-in with progress updates.
Lastly, make sure that the team member knows that you want to know if any problems occur, and that you are available for any questions or guidance needed as the work progresses.
We all know that as managers, we shouldn't micromanage. However, this doesn't mean we must abdicate control altogether: In delegating effectively, we have to find the sometimes-difficult balance between giving enough space for people to use their abilities to best effect, while still monitoring and supporting closely enough to ensure that the job is done correctly and effectively.
When delegated work is delivered back to you, set aside enough time to review it thoroughly. If possible, only accept good quality, fully-complete work. If you accept work you are not satisfied with, your team member does not learn to do the job properly. Worse than this, you accept a whole new tranche of work that you will probably need to complete yourself. Not only does this overload you, it means that you don't have the time to do your own job properly.
Of course, when good work is returned to you, make sure to both recognize and reward the effort. As a leader, you should get in the practice of complimenting members of your team every time you are impressed by what they have done. This effort on your part will go a long way toward building team member's self-confidence and efficiency, both of which will be improved on the next delegated task; hence, you both win.
At first sight, delegation can feel like more hassle than it's worth, however by delegating effectively, you can hugely expand the amount of work that you can deliver.
When you arrange the workload so that you are working on the tasks that have the highest priority for you, and other people are working on meaningful and challenging assignments, you have a recipe for success.
To delegate effectively, choose the right tasks to delegate, identify the right people to delegate to, and delegate in the right way. There's a lot to this, but you'll achieve so much more once you're delegating effectively!
Check how effectively you're delegating now with our "How Well Do You Delegate?" quiz.
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