One of the most important management skills is delegation, which is a major factor in exercising effective leadership. Delegation can motivate people, groom a likely successor, develop your team and save you time. It should be done right though, as poor delegation will confuse, demotivate and frustrate people. It could also result in your failing to reach your intended purpose or finishing the task you’ve set out to do.
If you want to be relieved of some of the stresses of being a manager, you should learn how to delegate correctly. Yes, that’s right. There is a correct and bad way of delegating. Many managers are afraid of delegating because they think that they would only get frustrated with the result. Some of it might be due to the fault of the one delegated to do the task but a big part of it could also be caused by the person who gave the task.
Delegation is a very helpful tool when planning for personal development and succession, as it encourages people to gain more experience by taking on a different level of responsibility. A manager’s ultimate task is to develop and train a successor so that people can move on to handle higher responsibilities. If this internal succession does not happen, then management will have to bring in new people from outside the company. Moreover, delegation frees up the boss’s time to handle more difficult management tasks.
You do not need a degree in rocket science to be an effective leader. When delegating, what you have to remember is just one word: SMARTER. This means that the delegated tasks should be specific, measurable, agreed, realistic, time-bound, ethical and recorded.
When delegating a task, be sure to be very clear about your objective. You should state what exactly needs to be delivered. Do you need a report, research, earnings, sales, market share, distribution or analysis? You have to select the right people for the job by assessing their abilities. You should also identify if they need training.
You must be clear about who will be responsible for the task. You should tell the team members who will be the project lead and what part each member of the team must perform. Discuss with them why the task has to be delegated, why they have been chosen, the relevance or importance of the task and how this relates to the bigger business scheme.
Be very clear about the timetable. Allow reasonable time for the team to finish the task. Pinpoint the priorities. You cannot just say, for example, that you need a quick analysis, because quick could be a day, a week or two weeks. While you could always request for something to be done quickly, be specific about the time while considering what would be involved in preparing and finishing the task. You and your team should agree on deadlines. Things to consider could include money, equipment, materials, premises, services, location and people.
Communication should be very clear as well. Do not be in a rush when delegating tasks. You have to think things through. Likewise, you should let your team members know that they could approach you when there are things that are unclear or there are things that they would like to suggest. Being a leader does not mean that your word is law. Consider the suggestions offered by your team. Sometimes, due to how close you are to the project, you cannot see the whole picture, which those on the outside could clearly see.
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