Do you delegate effectively?

Written by
Changeboard Team

09 May 2011

09 May 2011 • by Changeboard Team

The benefits of delegation

Managers who can identify suitable tasks for delegation and do so in a timely and effective manner will reap huge dividends.

Two key benefits to managers and team leaders of effective and timely delegation are:

  1. Freeing up time to focus on strategic planning and overarching issues. Such issues are ones that will impact on the organisation as a whole, not just the team being managed.
  2. Enabling managers to build capacity and empower members of their team to undertake more challenging tasks. In time, this will lead to a highly functional team of motivated, talented and capable high performers.

What is delegation?

Delegation is: to entrust, to empower, to mandate, to hand over, to authorise.

In effect, delegation is about giving control (albeit temporarily) to someone else to act on your behalf. Delegation is not about passing on to others in your team tasks you consider mundane, but have been included - some will say 'dumped' in your duties and responsibilities as a manager.

To master the art of delegation, as a manager or team leader, it's essential that you:

  • Offer explanation of why delegate (benefits to delegate)
  • State what needs to be done; by when; clarify outcomes
  • Clarify resources and support available
  • Confirm staff member feels capable
  • Agree timetable for updates and deadlines.

How can I delegate effectively?

Here are five key tips to help you find answers, develop suitable strategies and create your own action plan to more effective delegation.

As a manager or team leader, you need to:

  • Set boundaries, but allow freedom over approach
  • Use clear communication (speak and listen)
  • Make time for questions - allow them to clarify aspects that are unclear
  • Allow alternate solutions - don't immediately dismiss alternatives suggested by your team if alternative solutions are based on sound judgement. You do not have a monopoly on brilliant ideas
  • Build trust and confidence among members of your team. This both motivates and develops them.

Ask for feedback

When you identify what you want accomplished and have indicated this to one or more members of your team, ask for their input and allow them to suggest how best to achieve the outcome you want.

Inviting your team to make suggestions does not mean that you cannot provide guidance on additional or alternative approaches, what you have done is to invite them first to make a contribution, rather than instructing them to carry out an action. The former approach will make them feel valued, trusted and know you are willing to listen to their views, not just relay your own.

Members of your team will appreciate the fact that you took time to solicit their opinion and may even view your approach as indicative of your confidence in and trust of their ability to deliver on time and to the desired quality. This in turn will lead to them taking ownership for the tasks delegated. They will want to complete and deliver the desired outcome and will not view delegation as you asking them to complete tasks you consider either unimportant, but necessary, or mundane.

Requiring members of your team to provide you with regular and timely progress reports will ensure that delegated tasks become forgotten ones. Ultimately, you need to recognise and accept that final accountability resides with you as a manager or team leader.