Delegate Effectively

Believe it or not one of the greatest leadership skills is the ability to delegate effectively. To a lot of people that are new to management, delegating effectively sounds like dumping work on your staff. Good managers understand that effective delegation is the only way to become a great manager… and the only way to keep their sanity!

Most leadership training courses gloss over this management skill, but in my opinion this is a critical skill that any good manager must master. There are simply not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that has to get done. A new manager that tries to do everything themselves is setting themselves up for burnout and/or failure.

So – how do you learn how to delegate effectively? Start by determining what chores you have to do each day that can be delegated. Things that are repetitive, or need less understanding of higher level funcitons. Sometimes it is difficult to imaging an underling performing any of your duties… but analyze your duties from a distance or ask your boss to help you if you think nothing you do can be ‘outsourced’.

Another difficult thing for some new managers is to think of their employees as capable. Their team often makes mistakes. They often don’t seem to know what they’re doing. That may be true. But with effective training, at least some of your employees can be taught to do a few extra tasks for you. Choose wisely and train effectively. Don’t gloss over details and then blame them for not doing things correctly.

Effective delegation is clearly not meant to push your work onto underlings. They are there to do their jobs and assist you as needed. But if you just dump all your work on them, their own job duties will suffer. If their job duties suffer, then you look bad as a manager. Get it? They look bad, you look bad. It is not in your own best interests to dump work on them.

To some degree you may need some people management skills to properly delegate your responsibilities. If you call someone into your office and tell them that they’re now in charge of X, you may be met with some resistance. Start by telling them how well they’ve been doing recently and that you’d like to try and give them a bit more responsibility.

If your business communication skills are good, they’ll see it as an opportunity to excel, and shine, and please the new boss. This is a possible career advancing move for them, and a life saving move for you. You must learn how to manage workload effectively.

This is actually a stress management technique, and if you don’t learn to delegate effectively, you will surely struggle with your job and your boss will wonder why you can’t get everything done.

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