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Delegation Trains Everyone

by Justin Tyme

May-June, 2014

The inability to delegate is one of the most common problems of managers. Management and leadership are all about getting results by organizing and supervising a workforce. Poor delegation or no delegation is inefficient and expensive. And, the worst thing about not delegating is that managers are losing wonderful training opportunities for their workers.

Managers have many reasons for not delegating:

  • They feel at ease doing routine tasks rather than supervising the work of others.
  • They aren’t familiar with the skills of their workers and, therefore, are unsure of other people’s ability to take more responsibility.
  • They hate correcting other people’s work.
  • They know they can do some things better.

Delegating is hard work, but it’s work that is needed to help an organization grow and improve. You can tell people what to do and show people what to do, but by far the best way to teach people is to simply let them do the work themselves. Delegation provides that training avenue.

    There are basically two good reasons to delegate:
  • It gets the job done more efficiently.
  • It provides training and new experiences for members of work teams.

Writer Andrew E. Schwarts says, “Too many managers waste both time and energy performing tasks an employee could perform just as well, thereby lowering productivity while raising operating costs. The answer to the problem is easy – delegation. However, many managers still limit their own effectiveness, create imbalances in the organization, waste their department’s time and energies and fail to develop their subordinates by either ignoring or mismanaging the techniques of delegation.”

The ability to delegate tasks and control productivity simultaneously is an essential skill for managers. It’s kind of like juggling three or four balls in the air, while ordering fastfood out your car window and talking on a cellphone at the same time. There are many pitfalls that can undermine efforts to delegate, but there are also basic steps to help managers ease their workload through delegation while maintaining control.

Six functions of an effective delegation and control system include the following:

  1. Planning and Goal Setting. If everyone is involved in the planning and goal setting of a project, it is more likely that everyone will buy into the work involved to bring the project to fruition, which makes delegation easier.
  2. Responsibility and Authority. Before delegating, everyone needs to know which way the responsibility flows. Who reports to who? That question must be answered for effective delegation.
  3. Negotiation. “Can you do this?” Give and take is part of the delegation process.
  4. Management by Exception. Only the unusual problem or case is brought to the top.
  5. Consultation and Coaching. Think of consultation as the bedside manner of a physician taking a pulse. The manager needs to know how the patient is doing and must make suggestions to improve the overall health of the individual.
  6. Review and Control. This is kind of like consultation and coaching, but from a step back. Reviewing project aspects and controlling the work and schedule ensures continued progress toward worthwhile goals. In reviewing the project, the results should be addressed and the methods that were involved should not be criticized very much, if at all.

Delegation can result in some mistakes being made, but mistakes also can be learning opportunities. Praise should be given for jobs well done. Each time delegation happens there is a chance that everyone will improve their standing in the organization.

Article credit is given to Ideas and Training, www.ideasandtraining.com.