Across the board, organizations today struggle with a major problem: under delegation. And whenever there’s a problem, you have a great opportunity to stand out as part of the solution.
To fully understand how delegation will improve your performance and help your company succeed, let’s first step back and look at the fundamentals of why you need to delegate.
3 key benefits that effective delegation provides:
1. Delegation allows your team members to grow and develop new skills. Many managers deal with issues of guilt, difficulty letting go of projects they are emotionally invested in, or believing that since they the manager might do a better job at the task, it shouldn’t be delegated.
In other words, they’ve got blocks around delegating – and that prevents them from passing these projects along to their direct reports. Yet the only way that your team members are going to grow and develop is to take on new challenges. By delegating, you are doing what I consider is the highest work of good management: developing your team.
2. Delegation allows you as a manager to work on your top priorities. Let’s face it, if you are a manager, you’re probably feeling overworked. You’ve got a lot of competing priorities and it never feels like you have enough time to focus on the things that are most important. This is a problem for you because you’re stretched thin.
And this is a problem for the organization because they are investing a lot of resources in you. They are paying you for your high level of skill and your good judgment – but if you are stretched thin, you are probably not working at your best. And organizations flourish when everyone is performing well. That means focusing on the right priorities.
So, you want to identify your key responsibilities and focus on doing those well. By delegating your smaller responsibilities, you free up your time and mental energy to excel at the high-value, high priority tasks that you as a manager must do well. And in the meantime your team members will develop their skills by taking on new tasks.
3. Delegation helps organizations get more done, more effectively, while spending less money – so they can be more competitive and successful overall. This plays into organizational economics, and I’m going to write a separate post about this.
For now, think of it this way: yes, our careers are deeply and personally significant – and at the same time a successful career must include contributing to the success of the organization you’re part of. Successful teams contribute to this by being able to get more done.
This doesn’t mean that the goal is to work your team members to the bone, in fact it’s the opposite. Effective delegation comes with coaching: you support your team in working smarter and developing their skills so they improve their performance while still getting home in time for dinner.
So why does this help your career?
You have a tremendous opportunity to stand out from the crowd. All the managers out there who are under delegating are creating drag on their organizations. So, as you keep improving your process for delegating, your team will become much more effective and productive. Which means you will be more valuable to your organization – in a very visible manner.
And visible effectiveness is career gold.
Implementing a good delegation system is a multi-pronged process that I will continue discussing in this blog. For now here are two steps you can take.
1. Evaluate your own responsibilities, identifying what could be delegated. In a nutshell, you should narrow down your top responsibilities (don’t forget to include supervision & staff development). All of your other responsibilities should be delegated.
2. Reflect on each of your direct reports, thinking about what they are good at, what they enjoy doing, and what they need to do to develop their skills or get more visibility. Use this as a guide for which tasks get delegated to whom.
Good luck with improving the delegation process. Let me know how goes.
Career, Performance, and Management Coach for Women
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