Have employees? Then it’s time to focus on working more as a Manager and less as a Technician. Without delegation, you’ll get bogged down in operational details – time that could be spent looking at the next steps to accomplish your vision is lost to tactical tasks. Successful delegation requires not only planning, but also effective employee engagement. Rather than working more yourself, or demanding more from your employees, true delegation requires a shift in your perspective—from micromanaging as ‘lead Technician’ to planning and empowering as a real Manager.
In EMyth business coaching, we emphasize aligning the goals of your company with the passions of your employees over quick-fix engagement band-aids. Rather than evangelizing to try to get everyone to “buy-in,” we encourage you to clearly define your vision and the next steps to accomplish it, then share it with your employees. Ask what the vision means to them, and if it lines up with their goals. Share with them which aspects of the vision will be their responsibility, and ask them to create a plan for the way they’ll be accomplishing that. This is the beginning of ownership – when your employees have helped design the plan, and know exactly what they are responsible for. As a manager, your job is to consistently connect the dots between your company’s vision and the people who will be part of achieving this vision.
London business school professor John Hunt has found that just 30% of managers think they delegate well, and of those, just 1 in 3 is considered a good delegator by subordinates. So ultimately, just 10% of managers know how to delegate in an empowering way. With coaching, you can learn the skills and the tools to delegate in a way that makes employees more invested in projects and your business as a whole. Here are a few more tips on how to make that happen in your company:
Tips on Effective Delegation
- Choose whom to delegate to according to skills, and previous record of delivering on delegated tasks. Don’t fall into the trap of delegating solely by who has the most available bandwidth.
- If the natural choice (the person who has the role and the skills) for delegation isn’t stepping up to the plate, mentor them to shift their perspective, or make a staffing change.
- Discover what only you can do – and don’t try to delegate this. Could another employee write your vision for the business? Critical ‘Entrepreneur’ tasks like this fall to you.
- Make a commitment to manage in a way that doesn’t undermine staffers who are responsible for a project or task. If they don’t have the authority, tools, or information to truly take responsibility, you’ll find out. Instead of reclaiming the responsibility, consider this a learning opportunity to discover how you can delegate better, and give them what they need to truly own the project or task.
- Create clear tactical goals that are measurable. It’s much easier to assess the goal to “Increase leads by 10%” than the vague demand, “We need more new business.” Delegation works best when communication is crystal clear—outline your expectations, deadlines, supporting info and team support needed to accomplish goals. Put these elements in writing, or create a checklist/timeline. Google Docs and team meetings are good tools for tracking progress.
- Healthy delegation means leaving enough time to do the job—don’t delegate at the last minute.
- Don’t pass off tasks simply because they are unpalatable to you. Your team will see straight through this, and will lose respect for you.
- Check in with your employee periodically, but give them space to do their work in their own best way. Use your weekly one-on-one employee development meetings to mentor them and course-correct.
How you embody the Manager will have a big impact on your employees, and ultimately on your time. Investing your time in creating a vision, then a plan to accomplish that vision, means that every new responsibility your employees own will be a step toward your vision becoming reality.
Jed Bickford is the Director of Marketing at EMyth, the global leader in transformational business coaching.
EMyth has certified business coaches located around the world that small and medium sized businesses can work with to grow their business.