Effective Delegation - Why Bother?

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Why delegate?

By delegating effectively it will leave the Senior Management of the organisation time to really lead into the future:

Delegation offers:

  • Leaders the time to plan strategically
  • The chance for a shared responsibility and workload
  • Truly distributed leadership
  • Progression/ succession development

What is delegation?

So often you hear busy bosses say “If you want anything done properly you have to do it yourself”, or “I’m overloaded” or “I haven’t got time to do what needs to be done let alone time to think!”. “I have no work life balance – no time to myself”

As a boss you have to make conscious decisions are you prepared to spend all your time fire fighting or do you want time to think strategically? Do you wan to create a dependency model or a delegation framework.

Which one do you want?

Why does delegation fail so often?

Effective delegation will only happen if there are a number of elements in place. It requires thorough preparation before hand. You would not expect or indeed want a surgeon to operate unless they were well trained and knew what they were doing, had all the necessary equipment in a suitable, sterile environment.

Delegation requires the person who delegates to prepare the way, an investment of thought and time in the first instance will pay huge dividends in the medium and long term.

Preparing for delegation

  • Set out clear parameters of each delegation: desired outcome, success criteria, time scale, mile stones, resources available e.g. budget/ man power/materials etc, review dates
  • Be clear about roles & responsibilities – of them and others
  • Accountability – what will they be accountable for? And to whom?
  • Parameters of authority for decision making – this is the area where delegation often crumbles. 

Consider the consequences if the person doing the job constantly has to pass things up the chain of command for even the simplest decision. Conversely if the person has no terms of reference and is left entirely on their own it can be overwhelming or they can easily take decisions that are well beyond those you expect.

Act as a resource to your team, offer to be at their disposal as a resource rather than being seen as the decision maker. Advice can be self- limiting, far better to ask the right question to further their thinking. It is now that having a culture of development really adds value to the process. Questions are then seen as supportive to the learning process rather as a way to limit and control.

Firstly and finally if you want to maintain a “Dream Team” which is constantly striving to improve and develop, you need to consider your own role in creating and managing the team.

No room for ego

The best leaders do not need to be the best at everything. They have the confidence to employ the most gifted and talented people they can find. They have the skill to identify good people and to help them grow. Moreover they create a team where one person’s success builds the success of the team. Model the behaviours and attitudes you want to encourage.

Give credit where it is due

Be generous in your praise where it is deserved. Acknowledge others ideas and contributions and take time to thank people for their contribution. Often a heartfelt thank you is worth a fortune, however thanks must be heartfelt and genuine, paying lip service will very quickly backfire.

Celebrate success

We all respond well to positive reinforcement. If people know what success looks and feels like, they are much more likely to reproduce the conditions which make it happen. Think of successful dog trainers. They only reward good behaviour, but look for small increments – if these are rewarded behaviours are quickly changed for the better.

A celebration can take many forms, involve your team in determining how they would like their success to be recognised. Going through the motions will be quickly exposed for being false.

Rewards in line with core values

Think about your organisation’s core values with your team, consider the needs of your organisation and those of your team. The ideal is to create a win- win situation where the individual has a vested interest in the organisation and their colleague’s success.

Maybe you need *me* to help you figure out how and what to delegate?

If you need any further assistance with figuring out if you're good bad or indifferent at delegating and how that is helping or hindering your career, or help with becoming an Enlightened Leader, then there are lots of free resources and content, plus a fully CPD Accredited training programme that may just be perfect for you. Just head over to my website HERE.


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