Management books talk about the art of delegation. But successful delegation is much more about skills than an art. There are some things you must, and must not do, to effectively delegate to others.
The Benefits of Good Delegation Skills
In our Executive Coaching practice we have worked with many clients to improve their delegation skills. This enables them to
- Perform well in the job they are doing
- Develop other members of staff by giving them new projects and tasks
- Stand back and think beyond the timeframe of that day or week
- Do what they are paid to do leading and managing a team
What Reduces Delegation Skills?
In our experience of Executive Coaching there appear to be two main causes for problems with delegation. It is either related to a personality trait or the specific skills of delegation. Some people have a strong need to control everything and this personality trait can mean they delegate as little as possible to avoid losing control of a task. This control can also be linked to a fear of failure so by controlling the completion of a task the individual can be surer that it will get done successfully. However we know from our Executive Coaching clients that it is possible to delegate in a way that reduces the fear of a loss of control and a failure to successfully complete a task.
There are a number of important tips to help you improve your delegation skills and we list 8 key ones here:
- Consider the skills level of the person to whom you plan to delegate a task. Will they have the skills to do the job properly or will they need some help?
- Make sure you give the person you are delegating to the time to complete the task. Don’t just drop it on them at the last minute (some managers make a habit of this!). Check out what other priorities the person has and where appropriate re-prioritise their to do list
- Be clear about the end result that you expect – what will it look like? If you do this well you won’t end up getting work back that is not the way that you want it
- With inexperienced staff follow a tight delegation route – describe in detail what you want, when you want it and the things that will need to be done to complete the task. With more experienced staff you can just agree the end result.
- Ask the member of staff to talk through how they plan to achieve the task
- Set a deadline for them to report back to you on the task completion. In this way you will know it has been done on time
- With large tasks set a couple of review dates so you can review progress of the work along the way
- Make sure that the member of staff knows that you want to be made aware in advance if they are not going to be able to complete the task – not after the deadline!
If you follow these guidelines you will be able to successfully delegate tasks and achieve all the benefits of successful delegation. Executive Coaching is a great way to build your delegation skills and if you would like to discuss this please call us. Our contact details are in the side bar of this page
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