Managers cannot do it all; nor should they be expected to. And for managers to create and maintain an environment of efficiency, learning, fairness and excellence, they have to learn how to get their teams active and involved. They must delegate.
It’s been said that the ability to delegate determines one’s success. Equally as important to the overall and long-term success of a company are employees that are being delegated to. While this sounds like a simple concept, if we took the time to delve into what most consider delegation, we would find that many managers more often dump instead of delegate.
Back It Up & Dump It
Dumping is the art of assigning projects, assignments or tasks that you either don’t want to do or don’t have time to do onto someone without taking the time to:
- Communicate how and why this assignment is important and where the employee fits into it
- Ensure that the assignee is giving the proper training and tools to complete the assignment successfully
- Follow up, being sure that the assignment or project is being done correctly or if additional resources, ideas or training is necessary.
These three points are critical to successful and empowering delegation.
In essence, the task…and more importantly the accountability is being thrown onto someone else, dumped. We see this often when a deadline isn’t met, when the project comes up short or a goal isn’t reach. Instead of taking the “heat” and responsibility for making sure that it is done and done well (…and not necessarily having to personally do it), the finger of blame points to those that really cannot speak up for themselves without it sounding like an excuse. Our employees deserve better than being dumping grounds and scapegoats.
Delegation Fosters Buy-In
Gregorio Billikopf at the University of California at Berkley says that “…shared decision making can improve the quality and acceptance of decisions, bolster worker motivation and self-esteem, increase sense of ownership and improve interpersonal relations with employees.”
Employees of an organization want to see it prosper. They want to see ideas and processes come to fruition for the benefit of employees and clients. What they enjoy most of all is the opportunity to take part in those processes, to be able to share their ideas and talents, and the opportunity to participate and share in those activities that will further mission and ideals.
Delegation as a Training Tool
While there are always opportunities to train, what better time to teach and coach than one that involves a real-time issue needing to be tackled. Seizing that moment and taking full advantage of that developmental opportunity is noticed and goes a long way in shaping the employees opinion of the manager and the organization.
- When employees feel as if you see potential in them to make decisions, close the deal and/or move the needle, they will feel as if they have a future there.
- When employees see that learning opportunities are available in-house and that additional skills can be acquired, they recognize that there is something to work toward.
- When employees feel as if you are intentionally challenging and stretching them to perform above their comfort zones, they can appreciate the process and take greater pride in their accomplishments.
Giving additional and appropriate responsibilities (along with training, perspective and resources) to those you lead becomes a win-win-win (employees-you-organization), improving efficiency, internal growth, retention and ultimately your bottom line.