Saturday, August 11, 2012

Learning to Delegate

An amazing thing happened this week, I was blessed with the addition of support staff at work!  In my role I have had the good fortune to have engineering staff on my team to perform the technical and mechanical maintenance on my properties but those are not functions that I would really be able to do myself.  Now I have been given an assistant to help me with my workload and I'm faced with the challenge of delegating and distributing portions of my workload to her for completion.

This is an interesting challenge because although I spent many years as a high level assistant myself that doesn't automatically make me a good delegator.  As such I'm taking it upon myself to research the soft skill of delegation. 

Insight from the Experts:

Obviously there is a basic process of review of workload and determination of which tasks to appoint, but in my research I came across a couple of things that I thought were pertinent to share:

  • Assign the tasks you do best to yourself.  I found this to be a simple yet profound piece of advice.  There are going to be aspects of your job that you do really well or maybe even possibly really enjoy.  I think it's wise to leave some of those parts of your job for yourself so that your work remains rewarding.
  • When possible delegate tasks that are time sensitive.  Unexpected delays are a fact of life for managers, and time draining emergencies that arise out of nowhere are some of the biggest obstacles for me.  When delegating I think it's a smart idea to make it a practice to appoint the things that are on the strongest deadlines to ensure timely completion.
  • If you can't clearly describe it, don't delegate it.  Many times it's easier and faster to do the work yourself than answer a myriad of questions regarding the process. 
  • When possible delegate the entire task. This allows staff to get a clearer understanding of the big picture and allows them to contribute more effectively.  It may also lead to suggestions of improving efficiency or new ideas for process improvement.
  • Identify quantifiable measurements of outcomes.  I think this is important to ensure that the results are what you want.  Making assumptions of others understanding gets us into trouble and leads to a breakdown in communication and relationships.  Clear and consistent clarification is an excellent way to avoid those pitfalls.
So armed with this advice I will be spending some time sorting through my workload for projects to delegate.  I'm excited about the possibilities this brings both for my work performance and my leadership growth!

It's Your Turn:

Are you a good delegator?  If so what are some tips you have to share with us?  Do you have any suggestions you would like to offer?  I'd love to learn from your experience too!

The following article was the biggest contribution to this post.  Feel free to check it out if you want more info.

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