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How Delegation Benefits You and Your Team
A survey from a US testing company found that managers dedicate about 14% of their time correcting mistakes and redoing tasks assigned to their team. So why would any leader want increase that wasted time with delegation?
The Reasons for Delegating
It is time to delegate a task when:
- It has remained on your own to-do list for over a week.
- Someone else could handle the task just as effectively.
- The deadlines, objectives, skills, and resources required are clear and achievable.
- The negative consequences and risks of delegating are low compared to the advantages of getting the task completed.
- The task is routine or even boring for you but is a learning experience for the delegate.
- Delegation enables you to prepare a delegate for the next step in their career.
- Delegation frees you to concentrate on duties you cannot delegate, such as hiring, firing, employee reviews, strategy development, and change management.
How Delegation Helps Your Team
When you delegate to a team member, you increase that person’s confidence and self-esteem. Delegation also motivates the team member with a sense that their contribution is valued and important to the effectiveness of the team. Moreover, delegation increases the likelihood that the delegate will actively seek feedback and mentoring, a reflection of the value and importance the delegate places on the delegated role.
Successful delegation requires:
- Establishing criteria for selecting the task and the delegate; you do not want to delegate tasks that cannot be successfully completed by a delegate or require too many skills that the delegate lacks
- Communicating clearly what you are delegating, what results you expect, and the criteria you will use to judge the results
- Relinquishing authority and responsibility, not just dumping your least favorite task onto someone else and then micromanaging
- Outlining the delegate’s authority, including the authority to access the resources and contacts needed to complete the task.
- Setting aside time to support the delegate and serve as a resource, making sure not to abandon the delegate
- Performing check-ins for oversight, although they can be informal and should not undermine the purpose of delegation
- Backing off from expectations of immediate perfection
- Evaluating performance and results and recognizing the delegate’s achievement.
How Delegation Helps You
Aside from the obvious—by delegating you remove tasks from your to-do list that aren’t high priority, highly interesting to you, or under your control—delegation is an important leadership skill. The higher you rise in the organization, the more importance attaches to the ability to delegate.
- Communication between and effectiveness of the team, as it involves developing trust, sharing ideas, and engaging in group problem solving
- Skill set and knowledge base within the team, enabling you to better trust and deploy the growing abilities of the team
- Employee satisfaction, leading to lower turnover and less energy spent on replacing members
- Time available in your schedule for strategic thinking, crisis control, and your own leadership development.
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