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Top tips for effective delegation


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It's a fact that many managers find it difficult to delegate. Delegation is a key leadership and management skill but nobody tells managers how to do it well. So managers ask their staff to do a job, and then spend almost as much time redoing the work as it would have taken them to do it from scratch themselves. They 'learn' from experience that delegating isn't worth the effort.

But if you can learn to delegate it will bring huge advantages. Not only will it save you time but it will create a workforce that is more innovative, more engaged and more productive.

So how do you delegate effectively? What do you need to take into account? What rules do you need to follow?

Here are some basics to get you started

Published in: Business, Technology

Top tips for effective delegation

  1. 1. Excel:arate Mob: 07971 103 232 Raising performance – delivering results How to delegate effectively Fiona Cohn Excel:arate
  2. 2. Excel:arate Mob: 07971 103 232 Delegation Delegating well is a skill. And it’s a skill that most managers find challenging to master. Their experience usually goes something like this. They delegate a piece of work that comes back with mistakes or was nothing like what they expected. They end up doing it again themselves and the self fulfilling prophesy that ‘if you want something done well do it yourself’ is fuelled once again. Sound familiar? We’ve all had that experience. So how can you delegate effectively time and time again? Raising performance, delivering results
  3. 3. Excel:arate Mob: 07971 103 232 Why bother delegating? Being able to delegate well has lots of business advantages. • It’ll save you time • Actually it’ll give you time to do more important work • It’ll make your staff more skilled • It’ll keep your staff motivated • It’ll encourage staff to take more responsibility • It’ll reduce accidents • It’ll help with succession planning • It’ll give your customers a better experience Raising performance, delivering results
  4. 4. Excel:arate Mob: 07971 103 232 Delegation v abdication • The main reason delegation fails is because most managers don’t do it. They abdicate. • Delegation is more than giving someone responsibility for doing a piece of work or project. • Delegation can only take place after you as the manager, has spent time making sure the people you are delegating to have the necessary information to do what you are asking them to. • Before you delegate, you need to invest time preparing them, explaining and where necessary, up skilling your staff. Raising performance, delivering results
  5. 5. Excel:arate Mob: 07971 103 232 1st and 2nd levels of delegation The two lowest levels of delegation are: • Intensive delegation - telling someone what to do at each stage. You may as well do it yourself. It does not promote ownership of the task or initiative and they’ll never learn to do it themselves. • Ask – telling someone when they don’t know what to do or if they think something is wrong with the task, to ask you what to do. This is little better than intensive delegation. Again it does not promote any initiative and the person being delegated to is unlikely to gain the knowledge to do the task again. Both of these are very time intensive Raising performance, delivering results
  6. 6. Excel:arate Mob: 07971 103 232 3rd level of delegation • This is the lowest level of delegation you should consider if you want staff to learn, take initiative and develop their problem solving skills. • Recommend – when you delegate a job, ask the person you’re delegating to, to recommend how they will tackle it. Ask them open questions, for example, what are the reasons for them suggesting a particular method. • Use this level when making a mistake won’t be too costly or when the person has a lower level of skill or expertise. Raising performance, delivering results
  7. 7. Excel:arate Mob: 07971 103 232 4th level of delegation Reserve this for staff who already have the ability or transferable skill but who may not be confident. • Do the job and report back immediately. This shows you trust the staff member to do the work but are there to support them and help them get it right. Even if someone is skilled, you may want to use this kind of delegation if the job is very important or if making a mistake would be very costly. Raising performance, delivering results
  8. 8. Excel:arate Mob: 07971 103 232 5th level of delegation This is ideally where you’d like to be. It means you have high performing staff who you believe can do the work and get it right. • Do it and report back periodically (you will agree when you expect updates). Levels four and five demonstrate you trust your staff which will motivate them to do the best possible job. The advantage to you is that your time is freed to do more important management tasks. Raising performance, delivering results
  9. 9. Excel:arate Mob: 07971 103 232 The rules of delegation Irrespective of what level of delegation you choose to use, there are some rules. 1. Give a clear description of the desired result or objective. Be as visual as you can. It’s what the end result looks like – not how to achieve it. 2. Tell people what the ‘rules’ are and point out things that they should not do to achieve the result. 3. Identify what ‘resources’ are available to help them. Resources will be relevant to the job. 4. Identify the accountability arrangements, when they need to give updates, and the criteria against which the result will be measured 5. Tell them the consequences of doing the job – good and bad. These are based on the accountability arrangements. Raising performance, delivering results
  10. 10. Excel:arate Mob: 07971 103 232 Final thoughts about delegation • The main reason why people do not delegate is because they don’t believe the other person will succeed. You solve this by delegating at the appropriate level. • At first delegation takes longer than doing it yourself. Later on, the time you invested in delegating will repay you several times over. • You will delegate to the same person at different levels depending on the task. • People will make mistakes – use these as learning opportunities. • Delegation indicates trust, and trust is the highest level of human motivation. Raising performance, delivering results
  11. 11. Excel:arate Mob: 07971 103 232 If you want to know more about how we can help you to massively improve your business results, please get in touch: Fiona Cohn Excel:arate Mob: 07971 103 232 Email: Web: Raising performance, delivering results