Managers have so much to do nowadays! They must assure quality, meet goals and objectives, plan, budget and execute. While they’re doing all of this, they must also hire, train, motivate, direct and evaluate employees. When the topic of delegation comes up, many managers “don’t have the time”, “can do it faster and better themselves”, or “can’t make it happen fast enough with the employees they have”. True…delegation takes time, planning, patience, focus and energy, but if done well, the return on investment is incredible!
Some compelling reasons to delegate are:
- Maximize/leverage resources
- Create developments opportunities
- Motivate employees
- Utilize skills that the manager lacks
- Improve leadership skills
As you can see, delegation is more than just another task in the life of a manager!
How do you delegate? Here’s the steps adapted from Chris Roebach’s book Effective Delegation:
- Define and analyze the task
- Select the individual
- Assess employees’ ability and training needs
- Explain why
- Identify resources.
- Set objectives
- Monitor progress
- Review the results
Effective Delegation also suggests that there are four levels of delegation:
1. Control – The “control” level restricts the employee considerably. The manager retains control of the assignment. In the control level the manager:
- Gives specific instructions
- Supervises closely
- Restricts employee’s freedom
2. Coach – In coaching, the manger is less engaged – the employee has more freedom. When in the coaching level, the manager:
- Supervises closely, but less directive
- Explains the job by step but offers advice and support
- Allows the employee more responsibility and input
3. Consult – When “consulting” there is a shift in responsibility and power:
- Allows the employee more freedom of action
- Gives general instruction and invites ideas
- Decides jointly with employee on choice of action
- The manager is available for help.
4. Collaborate – At this level, the tables have turned. As Covey describes: “the employee is the boss and the manager supports” . The manager:
- Gives only overall direction
- Leaves specifics to the delegee
- Defines the level of freedom before the necessity to report
- Advises and supports only in rare situations.
There are other considerations before deciding what, when and whom to delegate to, such as available time, stress conditions, urgency, employee motivation, employees commitment and is the situation an opportunity for learning.
By utilizing delegation, a manager is leveraging productivity, developing employees and instilling camaraderie with employees. It takes a commitment of time, energy and attention, but the long term results are invaluable. Practising delegation will enhance management skills and develop leadership skills.
For more detail, read Cathy’s white paper on delegation.