Good managers make others work,
bad managers work on their own.
The heads of large companies often complain about the lack of qualified staff and the necessity of doing everything on their own. It happens because we’ve never been taught to delegate our powers.
Although the leaders want to delegate tasks to employees, they’re still afraid. They often argue this as follows: “An explanation of what and how should be done takes much more time”, “I can handle it much better and faster”, “If my employee flub, I will be responsible for that!”, “I’ll delegate this job to my employee today and he will take my place in six month” and so on and so forth.
Unfortunately, thebmost of the material on the delegation is based on such advice as “trust the people”, “don’t be afraid to give them responsibility”, “be creative”, “motivate on the result”.
This article contains the delegation technology, based on the successful experience of a large number of Russian and Western companies.
What is the delegation? The delegation means transfer of an assignment or a project from one person to another and the person’s consent to carry it out. This is one of the most important qualities of an efficiently operating manager. The delegator (i.e. the one who delegates) should be able to plan the job and organize the workflow in such a way to achieve goals as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Benefits of the delegation. The delegation can bring short-term and long-term benefits to you, your staff and your organization.
For you. You can reduce the workload if you pass the job to people who are qualified enough to do it. This will increase the amount of time you can spend on the projects that really require your direct involvement.
For your staff. Helps to develop new and existing skills. Reinforces the sense of joint achievement. Increases the level of trust and communication between the staff. Helps to achieve the goal if it requires teamwork.
For your organization. Saves money due to the proper distribution of tasks. Increases productivity by the economical consumption of resources.
Arguments against the delegation:
The delegation is conducted improperly if you notice some points from the following list of “alarming signs”:
The most successful managers adhere to the following guidelines of effective delegation:
The delegation can be done in several ways. It’s usually better to give the whole job to one person as it stimulates the initiative in solving problems. If the person later turns for help to the rest of the staff, the responsibility for the outcome lies on him.
You can weigh the problem determining its importance/urgency (the good old “Eisenhower matrix”). To determine the importance you can use faithful and reliable “Pareto rule” (20% of people drink 80% of beer). In other words, you have to assess how the performance of this or that task will contribute to the final result. Urgency is an assessment of how the problem is close to its completion deadline. It is recommended to delegate tasks with a high urgency and low/medium level of importance, as well as with low importance and low urgency. It helps to get rid of the hectic activity and “force majeure” which appear largely due to the fact that managers don’t take time to delegate tasks of such categories as “important, but not urgent”. They accumulate and sooner or later arise during the entire front and begin a massive offensive becoming the important and urgent tasks when the manager has even no time to delegate them.
To assess the delegated tasks it is also necessary to apply such a criteria as risk assessment. How big is the risk, what degree of responsibility and authority planned if there is someone to put this task?
For any problem it is necessary to clearly define the terms of its implementation. Otherwise the work turns into a gaseous state and tends to fill all the available amount of free time. It is particularly important to set clear deadlines to the executor of the task. And it’s better to establish the timing of the problem in a margin of at least 10-15 % of the terms that specifies the performer. This will allow you to have a certain time lag if the performer delays the execution of tasks due to some reasons.
This is the answer to the question “Who”? It is also the assessment of the possibility of the delegation of this or that task. The performer must be chosen in accordance with the presence of competence, experience, successful solutions to similar problems.
You can use the following gradation of the performers:
You need to clearly and unambiguously articulate a common goal to the performer and then distribute it to the individual tasks, while each task should provide a concrete result. It is possible to follow the time-tested requirements SMART: objectives should be specific, measurable, appropriate, realistic and time-bound.
It’s nice to have a list of tasks that can be passed to the performer or make sure that he has thoroughly and adequately documented everything and always check he understood the goals and objectives and accepted them for the execution. The performer often unquestioningly accepts the task and then it turns out that either he did not understand what and how should be done, or is overloaded so much that physically has no time to perform the task.
After the performer took the task, it is necessary to require a compilation of the schedule, program, stages of the adopted problem (if the problem is complex). This work is a part of the delegation procedure and should be performed by the executor. The realism and pithiness of the plan is a success criteria of the transmission of the problem, because then you can be sure that the performer understands what and how will he do, in what order and what resources he needs.
In the allocation of general tasks across the multiple performers, decide who is responsible for what in the long term and in what time frame certain tasks must be resolved in order not to slow down the overall solution.
The employee must clearly understand what rights, resources and means he has to accomplish the task. You must determine the order of how the decisions will be made in the framework of the task, how the procedure of handling the existing resources will be organized, what is the procedure of raising the additional funds, the duration of the delegation of the specific powers.
The delegation procedure itself has the motivating force. It is important that new problems are not perceived by the employees as an increase in the volume of work but as a recognition of the success and merit, improvement of the status. If there is a desire to further reward the employee for the successful execution of the task, it is necessary to start to negotiate and secure the ways (cash benefits, career development etc.) and the order to stimulate their implementation.
It is important to clearly define and agree with the performer the criteria for success at the even start of the formulation of the problem. It is also important to determine in advance the form of current control (how and how often will the employee inform you on the tasks). The employee should know in advance about the possible sanctions for missed deadlines, budget overruns and poor performance of the task. The manager must clearly specify in advance the procedure of acceptance of the work performed. It is desirable to document it.
The delegation does not exclude but rather suggests that the head is closely watching the performance of delegated tasks, advises and adjusts its execution. The delegation contains a developmental function and promotes the formation of a strong reserve personnel and increase their competence.