Share Responsibilities by Delegating

Many managers and team leaders fail to delegate or share responsibility because they fear that the quality of the work will suffer. They complain, “If I want it done right, I’ll have to do it myself.” If you’re tempted to put off delegating, remember that at some time in your career you didn’t know how to do what you can now do easily. Someone invested the time to teach you. Admittedly, training someone may involve a considerable amount of time and effort now, but weigh this against the long-term permanent savings of both time and effort that will be yours when the training is complete.

Some managers also fail to delegate because they fear that strong, well-trained employees may replace them. Actually, this possibility should be welcomed – not feared. When you have trained people to do your work effectively, you are available for promotion – not replacement. Even when your organization does not have promotion opportunities immediately available for you, the benefits of training other team members are still valid. In addition to maximizing your effectiveness, you increase overall team effectiveness. Not only do you increase your team or department’s flexibility in responding to needs because of the cross training you’ve encouraged, you also enjoy the benefits of working with more highly-qualified, competent, and experienced colleagues. The person who develops the talents and abilities of others and increases their productivity becomes one of the organization’s most valued assets.

Increase your effectiveness as a delegator by making a specific plan for delegation. List all the various tasks you perform. Your activities will fall into several categories:

  • Tasks that could be eliminated. You may be surprised to find that some tasks that clutter your work day are actually unneeded. When tasks don’t add value to the results you’re responsible for, the best thing to do with them is to eliminate them. Determine whether the reports you make are actually used. If not, cut them out. Ask to be removed from distribution lists of paperwork that don’t help you in your work. Direct members of your work group in a similar study of their own activities. If they can eliminate useless tasks and simplify others, they have more time to accept additional delegation.
  • Tasks that you must do personally. The tasks that you must do personally are the most vital, high-priority responsibilities connected with your job. They demand your expertise, your more extensive knowledge of the organization and its goals, and possibly confidentiality.
  • Tasks that you can delegate. Some tasks that fill your time could be done by others. A few of these can be entrusted only to the most gifted and talented people on your team. Others could be done by anyone in the organization with only a few minutes’ explanation. The easier the task is to teach, the more important it is to delegate it.
  • Tasks that could be simplified. Some of the tasks you currently do may involve more detail than required. Analyze all tasks to find ways that you might simplify them. Doing so may allow you to train others to take over these tasks.

Now, review the written list of various tasks you do. Take immediate action to eliminate unnecessary tasks. Then concentrate your attention on the items you could delegate to others. Make a specific plan for teaching these procedures to someone else and delegating the responsibility for them. Get started immediately on this important strategy for success.

After you’ve delegated some tasks, look back over your task list at the items you’ve identified as your personal responsibility. Estimate how much time you actually spend on these tasks. As the most important elements of your job, they should fill the major portion of your time. Once you’ve delegated or eliminated less important items, you can give more time to these vital high pay-off activities and still have time left to accept new responsibilities. Set a goal to spend 70 to 80 percent of your time on high pay-off tasks and new responsibilities.

Leadership Management® Institute
Reprinted with permission
Strategic Essentials is a Managing Partner for Leadership Management® International, Inc.

For more information about Strategic Essentials small business training and education programs or our coaching and consultation services please call our Reno office at 775.826.8282 today!

Strategic Essentials serves business owners, business leaders, entrepreneurs, managers, supervisors and decision makers in Reno, Sparks, and Carson City, Tahoe, Truckee Meadows and surrounding communities.