Delegation is not simply about asking others to run errands and occasionally allowing them to perform minor, one-off tasks for you.
Nor is it about ‘dumping’ those unpleasant or tedious tasks that the manager can’t be bothered to do. Delegation tends to be concerned with recurring tasks and major-one off projects. In the case of car retailer Volkswagen, it was interesting to read how their CEO, Martin Winterkorn, is planning to delegate more responsibility to the group’s brands and regional chiefs so that they might meet the specific needs of customers in their own markets, as opposed to taking directives from a single, centralised head office. A bold move indeed for any big brand, but one which does have the potential to work effectively with the right regional teams and leaders at the helm on a local level.
The following 5 Top Tips will help you to isolate those tasks that often make them the prime candidates for delegation:-
When you complete a task repeatedly and routinely, that often spotlights it as one to delegate. Why?
First…because a routine task is usually easy to pass over to someone else. You’ve done it yourself many times. You’re aware of any likely problems. You approach it with tested methods.
Second…delegating your routine tasks pays BIG dividends!
Once you’ve prepared the person, set up controls and passed over the task, you’re a winner – you will benefit each time the person performs it.
It’s all too easy for managers to become involved in many tasks and have little impact on the results they are trying to achieve. Tasks under the ‘trivia’ heading are prime targets for delegation!
First, they take up your time – often a great deal of it – without producing really important results.
Second, they rarely require the skills of the manager and someone else can handle them adequately.
Third, they are often easy to delegate.
And finally, they give the other person a chance to exercise authority and decision making in an activity where the consequences of poor handling are not likely to be that devastating.
Before you delegate a trivial task though, ask one question: Does this task actually need to be done at all? If it’s little more than a time waster, don’t delegate, eliminate!
It may seem strange to delegate the aspects of your job that you most enjoy! Yet these are often the tasks that you hang on to, even though they don’t represent the best use of your time and energy.
They may be related to your area of expertise or to earlier job roles that you’ve had. This has been characterised as ‘turf mentality’ – holding on to certain tasks becomes a manager’s means of protecting their turfs. Some managers just can’t let go of their pet projects!
Of course this doesn’t mean that you need to delegate every pleasant aspect of your job!
The point here is that you risk retaining easily delegable tasks simply because they’re your pet projects.
Do you repair and service your own motor car? Probably not.
Most people delegate that task to specialists.
The delegation of tasks that need special skills is one of the easier and more natural forms of delegation. Except for the die-hard ‘DIY-ers’, most people call a plumber when a pipe bursts.
However, some manager are ‘DIY-ers’. They feel that every task they tackle broadens their experience and skills. But managers have limited time and substantial primary duties. Suffering through the mistakes and frustrations that anyone encounters when tackling a new task is not necessarily the best (and only!) was to learn.
You could easily waste hours trying to straighten out an accounts discrepancy that your organisation’s finance specialists could solve in 20 minutes!
Chores may fall under other categories, such as routine, necessity and trivia. But the one characteristic that always marks a chore is that you don’t like doing it!
Anything can become a chore. Consider those long, drawn-out meetings, those monthly reports, planning that rota. With too much repetition, all these tasks can become your dull and dreaded chores.
Some managers shy away from delegating their chores. They feel uneasy about passing over to others the tasks they don’t care to do themselves. But again, time is the crucial factor here: if you had unlimited time, you could afford to pitch in and help with the dirty work. But you don’t have the time! You should focus on the tasks that need your attention and delegate anything else.
Remember, what constitutes as a chore for you may be an interesting opportunity or new experience for one of your people. Delegating these tasks will help remove you from some of the routine stuff that cause you to procrastinate or approach something only half-heartedly.
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