This week at the ted Learning office we’ve been thinking about barriers to delegation, and we decided that one of the most common is lack of time: it’s true to say that often it will be quicker to do it yourself! But in taking this approach, you’re missing a valuable opportunity to use delegation as a developmental tool to increase your team member’s motivation at work and aid succession planning. Whilst it’s important to lead from the front and set an example to your team, to be a successful manager, you need to remember that your job is to ‘manage’ – not to ‘do’. That means not being the person who does everything, but being the person who makes sure that everything gets done, and the key to this is effective delegation.
There will always be standard, commonplace tasks which need to be delegated out amongst the team, but it’s important to remember that you can delegate higher level tasks which carry greater responsibility too. This probably means you’ll need to put some training or coaching in place to support the individual in completing the project, check in points along the way and some feedback and follow up at the end. It’s important to plan this time in to make sure they feel fully supported – so it may take longer in the short term than if you had just focused on completing it yourself. Long term however, the pay-off is much bigger: the individual will have learned a new skill and taken on greater responsibility; they feel trusted, involved and motivated to do good work; your follow up and constructive feedback enables them to improve further, and the next time a similar task needs completing you can delegate it to them straight away.
This in turn means that your time is freed up to concentrate on other projects – potentially meaning your manager may delegate some higher level responsibility work to you, facilitating your own development.