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Delegating: A friend to effective leaders

12 Oct 2012 by Sarah Leembruggen.

Haven’t got time to delegate? That’s exactly why you need to do it, but many of us find it difficult, which then piles stress on top of stress. Break the cycle...

First, a quick fact from the Harvard Business Review: A time management study carried out in 2007 found that nearly half of over 300 companies surveyed were concerned about their employees’ delegation skills. But only 28% of them had offered training to help. Why? We all know delegation is vital for effective leadership, so here are some key points to remember:

Delegating is a good way to get the best out of you and your team. The martyr manager, who does everything and delegates nothing has failed to spot that this form of management ties you down to tasks you needn’t be doing, limits your professional growth and can deny your team the development they need. By delegating, you free up your time, create space to work more effectively and give others their opportunity to demonstrate their abilities.

Start by investing in some time to refocus. Consider your qualities and the areas where you are most valuable. Examine the strengths of your team so you can identify what talent you have. You may be feeling swamped and overwhelmed but this is an important step towards a more productive, less stressful way of working.

Next, you need commitment from your team and the individuals you want to delegate to.  Make the right approach, offering a full briefing with time to discuss the implications of accepting the task or project. Ask how they see things. Talk through the responsibilities and benefits; enhanced stature within the team, improved skills to take forward to other projects and the opportunity for individual career development for example.

Successful delegation relies on clarity. Give your team the tools and the authority they need to complete the project. Implement clear parameters and a reporting schedule before the handover is completed and communicate the changes to the appropriate people. Remember, you are still accountable and need to remain connected in a supervisory capacity. Offer coaching and training where necessary and be available to deal with questions and issues as they arise. Any associated goals and targets can then be added to the review process, giving you the control you need to adequately monitor the results. 

Delegation should be an empowering experience, which creates a feeling of increased involvement in the business by working more closely with colleagues. Staff who are empowered with the authority to make decisions will be motivated to drive through changes and feels part of a community, will be more likely to enjoy their day-to-day work and help to sustain a sense of company cohesion.

For more detailed reading see:

businessballs.com, inc.com, Harvard Business Review blog

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