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Deciding when to delegate

airplane30902462.jpgDelegation is a method of redistributing work in such a way that everyone on a team is busy doing something productive, yet no one member is over worked, or stressed because of their workload. Successful delegation can make working a more pleasant experience but unfortunately, while the concept of delegation is simple, the execution is rarely perfected. There are times when delegation, however desirable, is not appropriate. When you are deciding when to delegate, you should ask yourself the following questions:

1. Is the task that you want to delegate something that someone else can do?

Many managers struggle with this first question. Some managers feel like the job that they can do will be far superior than what a subordinate can do. Some managers lack faith in their employee's abilities. Other managers simply believe that they can do it more quickly if they just take care of it themselves. While these thoughts may all be valid or true, they are not going to help you to lighten your workload as a manager by delegating. Ask yourself if another has the training and information to be able to complete the task. Be willing to sacrifice a little bit when it comes to how perfect the execution of that completion is. You need to learn how to prioritize. You should only be doing the tasks where your attention is most critically required.

2. Does the task provide an opportunity to grow and develop another person's skills?

As a manager, it is your responsibility to cultivate the potential of the employees that you supervise. There is no way to do that unless you trust them to perform jobs that are out of their comfort zone. It is a good time to delegate when you believe an employee is ready for a new challenge. Successful completion of the delegated assignment benefits the employee as their morale improves and the manager as they know that this employee can be trusted with more responsibilities in the future.

3. Is the task you are thinking of delegating, one that is reoccurring?

If this task is one that you are frequently being given, you have an opportunity to use the members of your team to assist you on a regular basis. As you delegate this assignment several different times, your employees have the ability to learn from experience and to get better at that task. Eventually, you will be able to turn that responsibility completely over to those other members of your team.

4. Do you have enough time to delegate the job effectively?

Time must be available for adequate training, for questions and answers, for opportunities to check progress, and for rework if that is necessary. While micromanagement should be avoided, your attention is needed at various intervals throughout the course of the completion of the task. Your team members will need direction to ensure that they remain on the right track and feel comfortable progressing with completing a task that they may be unfamiliar with. The employees should feel empowered not lost. As you provide the necessary guidance, be sure that you are remaining opened to the fact that there may be multiple ways to do the job correctly and that your way is not necessarily the best way. Encourage independent and original thinking but give your employees some parameters so that they do not get too far off topic.

5. Is this a task that I should delegate?

As a manager, you have been entrusted with certain responsibilities that should not be delegated. Responsibilities like choosing the members of your team, giving promotions, or letting someone go are not tasks that should be given to someone with less responsibility and authority. Use discretion when it comes to delegation and make sure that the task matches the amount of authority and responsibility that the employee in question has earned.

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