The art of delegation is, simply put, moving low value tasks to your subordinates in order to reduce your overall workload. Delegation is extremely important in any leadership role but it is something that can cause tension and disdain if done incorrectly.
When you are looking to delegate tasks you should always find a positive undertone to provide your subordinate for them to complete the task. This can be something as simple as gaining face time with other members of management or learning skills for their next opportunity in the organization. In some cases your people will approach you and ask for additional permission or responsibility and they will do it because of a few different reasons.
- They want to prove their abilities.
- They feel the task will help them move into a new role quicker.
- They genuinely want to help reduce your work load and stress.
These are the 3 reasons that I have found are the most common reasons any employee will want to have more responsibility. While all these reasons are fine you must ensure that you are providing the proper message when you delegate someone a task. Always provide the underlying reason that you are delegating the task to the, whether it is to free up your time to work with other members of leadership or the employee themselves or to get them more face time with other management.
What should I delegate?
This was a question that I had to ask myself every day when I became a supervisor and moving into the manager role. Throughout the tasks I have given to my supervisors there have been a few rules that I have made for myself that has made me decide what I can and cannot give out.
Due Date: When the project has to be completed is a big determination on whether or not the task should be given to an employee or done yourself.
Visibility: If the project is something that will be viewed by the executive staff then it is something that will require you to have a chunk of input on. You will want to make sure that if you do delegate this project that you leave enough time to thoroughly review and make any modifications necessary.
Development: Is this going to teach your employee something? If it is then it is something that you should give them so that they can learn the skills that the project can provide.
Workload: Is this a task or is it a project? How much workload is it going to place on your employee? Are they going to be able to complete their daily tasks at the same time? These questions are important to make sure that you don’t overwork your employees.
Now lets look in the Workload category, is this a task or is this a project. This is one of the most important things you have to answer because it is going to determine where this will end up. If this is a task you must be willing to delegate it permanently to one or more employees, whether this is something that happens every day or something that happens once a month. If this is a project you need to ensure that you are comfortable having your employee spend the time on it. If they have other tasks and projects going you need to help them balance their workload so that they do not get overwhelmed.
Here is the challenge for this article. Sit down and determine how much of your time is spent on tasks that could be delegated to others within your organization. Then determine if they fall in line with the categories above. If it is something that can be delegated then do it! The art of proper delegation is something that can take years to learn but is a key weapon in a good managers arsenal.