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Delegation – a Dilemma?

“By the time I’ve shown them what to do, I might as well do it myself.”

I regularly hear this when coaching leaders and managers on the topic of delegation.

Delegation is a hot topic in my coaching room.

Sometimes it’s not the presenting issue that brings senior leaders to coaching.

But it can sometimes be one of the answers and plans that they take away, in order to deal with that issue.

In this blog, we will discuss the deep benefits of building a culture of delegation.

Why wouldn’t you delegate? First, the cons.

There can be a host of reasons that hold a leader back from delegating.

Some of the barriers for my coachees in the last year have been:

Feeling awkward asking others to do things.

This can be a particular issue for newly promoted leaders and managers. If their peers have become their direct reports, there is a new relationship to establish.

Not wanting to burden other people.

This can be a mindset that really gets in the way of effective delegation. Seeing delegation in a different way can help.

Time.

The time it can take to get a team member up to speed can deter leaders from delegating. This can happen especially where their work volume already feels unmanageable to them.

Responsibility.

A common one for high-performers: feeling as if they should do the work themselves.

Perceived competence.

Not trusting others or not believing they are ‘up to it’ often clouds a decision to delegate.

Saboteur thinking.

Not wanting to lose control, perfectionism, avoidance or being a pleaser can really get in leaders’ way.

This much is true…. Delegating when someone lacks the right skills and capability to do the work can be a recipe for disaster.

But what about when team members are competent, keen to develop and just need your guidance and support?

 

Why would you delegate? Next, the pros.

When a leader chooses to delegate they can benefit from:

🔸 A structural reduction in their own workload and stress

🔸 Developing team members’ skills and self-worth

🔸 Creativity and diversity of approach

🔸 Increased employee productivity, with potential to add to the ‘bottom line’

🔸 Building a culture of trust

🔸 Building talent for the organisation’s future

🔸 Improved employee engagement, through trust and involvement

🔸 Investment in team members development and their future

 

How to avoid employee frustration that their roles don’t make best use of their talents, abilities and skills?
Sadly, this is a story I’ve seen in the results of many organisations’ employee survey results.

When we delegate in the best way, we can enhance the working culture, by generating positive feelings in our team.

But we need to have a growth mindset, to do that.

So, what is good practice, when it comes to delegation?

 

6 steps to successful delegation

Here’s a reminder of some key points to consider when delegating:

1. Choosing what to delegate

Identifying the right tasks to delegate is crucial. Focus on projects that are suitable for others to take on.

Then you can free your time for more strategic responsibilities that only you can do.

2. Clarity

Ensuring you give adequate time to a) explain the task in detail and b) set clear expectations for the individual taking it on.

This clarity helps avoid misunderstandings and increases the chance of a successful outcome.

3. Checking understanding

Making sure the person taking on the activity is really clear about what’s needed. Knowing when, what they need to consider and what communication is needed is essential to a good result.

Asking them to play back to you what they understand can be a great way of identifying any gaps that you need to fill.

4. Assigning appropriately

Selecting the individual with the right mix of skill and will to take on the delegated task is essential.

If the task is important and has some urgency, it needs someone who is qualified and experienced in handling the responsibility effectively.

Or, if the task is non-urgent and you are delegating to build skill, be prepared to provide more guidance and support.

5. Oversight and support

Providing proper supervision is key to successful delegation. Leaders should act as mentors and coaches to ensure the task is completed satisfactorily.

They have a responsibility to check understanding, clarify points and offer guidance and assistance when needed.

Building in early and mid-point progress check-ins can make sure the work is on track.

6. Communication

Open and clear communication is vital. Any challenges that arise during the delegated task, need discussion so that obstacles can be removed.

Feedback and acknowledgement for the work done is key – this will bolster the team member’s confidence and skills to take on the next delegated task.

 

 

So, is it worth investing in learning to delegate more effectively, to develop and engage your team and improve productivity?

What do you need to think about more, to enhance your delegation skills?

 

If you found this article helpful and want to know more about how coaching can help you (or leaders in your organisation) to elevate their delegation skills, then do get in touch.

You can send a DM on LinkedIn or email me: suzanne@theinnerpotential.com

 

 

Get in touch

Contact Suzanne Pullen +44(0)7483 235068 if you wish to discuss this post or any of the services The Inner Potential has to offer