The art of delegation
As organisations grow, it’s natural that leaders within the organisation can start to load more and more onto their plates when it comes to tasks and projects. It’s easy, then, for leaders to start to become overwhelmed. One solution is to delegate some of those tasks and projects. Sound simple? It’s not quite as easy as handing the job over to someone else and washing your hands of it but it doesn’t need to be rocket science either.
The dangers of delegation
There are plenty of leaders out there who are hesitant to hand over the reins but there are also leaders who hear the word ‘delegation’ and hear ‘an excuse to be hands-off’. Delegation is a useful tool, but only when used properly.
- Delegation IS a great way for leaders to lighten their own load and conserve energy.
- Delegation is NOT an excuse for leaders to absolve themselves of all responsibility.
- Delegation IS an opportunity for team members to be stretched and to grow in their abilities and for teams to grow in their capacity.
- Delegated tasks should NOT be handed off to just anyone.
- Delegated tasks should NOT be handed over to the same people over and over again.
You can look at delegation from a number of different angles but there’s no need to make things more complicated than they need to be. In general, there are three different methods of delegating you can use with your team.
For the inexperienced team member
Those who are newer to the team, the industry or to the workforce will naturally need a little bit of assistance when it comes to tackling delegated tasks. Taking a directive delegation approach — an approach where leaders explain exactly what they want the individual to do, from start to finish — is best, to ensure they have full support while completing the task. Throwing them in the deep end might seem like a great idea to fully immerse them but it can leave them feeling unsupported and frustrated. Once the delegated task has been completed the first time debrief with the team members and share praise or constructive feedback.
For the experienced team member
Those who have been around a little longer should have the ability to approach delegated tasks with a little more autonomy. Taking a ‘management by objectives’ approach is best for these individuals. Tell them the results that you would like to see at the end of the task and let them handle the task on their own, working in their own way to achieve those exact results.
For the highly experienced team member
When it comes to those who have been around so long they are in leadership roles themselves and highly trusted, a looser approach to delegation can be taken. By now, they know what is expected in terms of results, procedures and timelines. Lines of communication should be kept open to ensure everything runs smoothly but these team members should be able to perform the tasks with little issue.
Nothing is possible without communication
Even your team members with the most experience need to be supported. The key is keeping the lines of communication open at all times — team members need to know they can ask for help, speak up if the load is too heavy and ask for more directions, if they need them. Delegation is never a complete handover of responsibility — leaders are just as responsible as the team members they hand the tasks over to.
Are you ready to start effectively delegating to your team? People Make the Difference can help. To find out more, visit www.pmtd.com.au or call us on 0412 333 415. Try our online leadership training videos – $99 for complete access. Great value if you’re committed to growing your leadership potential.