Are You Failing at Delegation?

Joe Weinlick
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Do you feel stretched thin in your role as manager? Do you hover nearby nervously whenever one of your team members takes on a new responsibility? Do you require everything to come across your desk before it is finalized? These are all symptoms of poor delegation. Better delegation techniques free up your time and your energy, allowing you to focus on being a great manager. Follow these guidelines for better delegation.

Don't Expect Perfection

One of the top reasons managers give for not delegating tasks is that they often believe their team members aren't going to do as good of a job as they would. This may be true, but no one learns to do better without practice. Expect those you delegate to do at least 85 percent as well as you would. This mindset helps you avoid micromanaging and leaves room for the typical errors that occur with any new task. Once you get into the habit of better delegation, don't be surprised to learn that many of your workers are more capable than you originally thought. Providing opportunities for your team to shine gives you a chance to discover each team member's strengths and potential.

Cover Down

Don't expect senior level managers to cover your duties every time you are out of the office. Likewise, when your own team leaders are on vacation or out sick, don't simply add their responsibilities to your already-full schedule. Instead, use better delegation by selecting your most promising team members to cover these temporary leadership roles. This cover down technique challenges employees to learn new skills and grow. With regular practice, delegating also helps you grow into a better leader. A good manager makes sure everything gets done. A great manager sees each member of his team as a resource full of potential and uses them to their fullest potential for the good of the individual, team and organization.

Grow Your Best

As a manager, you probably have some responsibility when promotion time comes around. Better delegation gives you regular opportunities to assess the leadership potential of every member of your team. Start getting your team ready by having workers occasionally lead meetings and handle more advanced responsibilities during busy times. It is acceptable to listen in when an employee is doing something new, but avoid interfering unless a grave error is made. Instead, take notes and have a coaching session after the task occurs. Employees learn more when they are required to think for themselves, including making their own mistakes and correcting them.

Delegation is one of the hardest skills for new managers to learn. Start small by trusting a few of your best employees to step in and handle things when you are not available, and then build better delegation techniques by gradually increasing the amount of responsibility you share to help every member of your team reach their full potential.

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