It is the same with managers – it is a rare one indeed that doesn’t struggle with effective delegation. The argument nearly all of them produce is: “It is quicker to do it myself”. Of course it is – once. But while it might take you three times as long to teach someone properly in the first week, think about the time you will save the second week, the third week and ad infinitum. You will, of course, be onto a total loser with the whole delegation project if you don’t pick the right staff. You have to have staff capable of delivering the results of the task – so this is affected right through from your recruiting to your choice of staff to delegate particular projects to. Matching the right staff to the right job may sound obvious but it is often ignored. The right staff will be proud of the opportunity to shine, be keen to develop their skill set and their own value by learning. Don’t waste your time on staff that are incapable of problem solving and or resent being given projects and tasks to control. Find competent people who are capable to working without you looking over their shoulder and developed systems of delegation – should accept delegation with pride and excitement as opposed to resentment. Bear in mind though the golden rule of never delegating something you wouldn’t do yourself – delegating is not an excuse to get rid of the muck. That said, delegating to experts who do something better than you, not least because you hate it – be it your accounts or whatever – can make financial and time effective sense. Delegation is an art – or perhaps a science – as it certainly has to be set up in a very organised and thought through way to work effectively. From the start, the aims need to be crystal clear, the sources of information accessible. The exchanges of information on progress need to be structured from the start to give the manager the controls so that nothing can go too wrong and take away the need to micro manage, and the delegatee the security to progress with the project, growing in confidence and knowing they can’t go too far wrong. When they are reporting, don’t make the mistake of measuring them by the way you would do it. As long as they achieve the results, let them have a little freedom when they know enough about what they are doing. Too tight an instruction stops problem solving and development. It is a trust issue and if you trust your staff, and have put in the controls to ensure damage limitation, you can let go and let them fly. If you stick to the regular checks and avoid sticking your nose in the rest of the time, the staff will grow in confidence and not feel persecuted. Even if they have got things wrong, explain why and they can learn from it. If they are stuck, make them come up with some solutions first even if they are the wrong ones. It is about encouraging them to think and rescuing won’t develop that. Encouraging staff development by delegation is good for them and good for your business and any owner or manager who fails to delegate is really failing to lead their team. And do you really want to be stuck doing menial jobs and burning out for the rest of your life or delegating efficiently and actually reaping some rewards for all your hard work?
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