Learning How to Delegate

Lauren Krause
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As a leader, your responsibilities vary from day to day and sometimes from hour to hour. Inevitably, upper management holds you accountable for the results of your team. The temptation to try to do everything yourself is often strong, particularly if you're dealing with inexperienced employees or you are a new addition to the company. Learning to trust your people is an integral part of effective delegation, which will ultimately make your job easier.

Effective delegation is critical to your success as a manager. It may well be the one skill that will preserve your sanity, particularly during difficult or busy times. It can also help prepare your team members for more challenging responsibilities, including management roles. After all, as a leader, you are in the best position to inspire the people who report to you.

During times in which you're focusing on personnel development, you may find that effective delegation techniques include encouraging employees to step out of their comfort zones. As a good boss, you can help the people in your team to develop new skills and gain confidence. When you let team members perform new and different tasks, you allow them to grow.

Your objectives need to be clear, particularly when the purpose of your delegation is, in fact, personnel development. If you want to empower your staff members, you need to be as unambiguous as possible about what they are expected to achieve. That way, they have something concrete to aim for and an expectation to possibly even exceed.

After a while, effective delegation might require you to alter your techniques to some degree. You could, for example, allow a trusted employee to sub-delegate and assign parts of a given task to his own mini-team. The end goal is empowerment, and you can accomplish that by enabling your people to achieve as much as they can while you are in a position to help them.

Another element in any effective delegation strategy is openness. Encourage your team members to come to you with questions at any time. If they are shy about doing so, seek them out to discuss the importance of effective communication with them. The more communicative you can be with your team, the better your results are likely to be. That applies regardless of what department or industry you're in.

Effective delegation is just one of many skills you need to hone as a manager at any level within the company. In management, the phrase, "If you want a job done well, do it yourself" simply doesn't apply. If you feel you cannot trust the team you have in place to perform the duties you assign to them, it could be time for a little training—or maybe even some job reassignment.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at Freedigitalphotos.net



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