How Good are you with Delegation?

Are your spending more than 12 hours in your office and still unable to complete your work?

Is your team feeling demotivated and unimportant?

If you are wondering, why I asked these two different questions that has no relation with each other, then think again!! These two questions are related to each other.

I have still not forgotten that day, when my boss walked into my room once late in the evening just as he was passing by the office and found me still in the office. He looked at me and asked me, “What are you doing in office so late”? I had a sarcastic look in my eyes and replied, “Boss, I am trying to complete my work”. My boss responded with an even more sarcastic look and said, “If you cannot complete your work in 8 hours of office time, you cannot do it in 16 hours”. I felt insulted and disappointed. After a few minutes when I tried to decipher what was the inherent meaning of this statement, I learnt the biggest lesson of my life.

If you cannot complete your work in 8 hours of office time, you will not be able to complete it in 16 hours.

In my further discussion with my manager he told me how to work effectively in order to complete things in time. A lot of these discussions were around effectively delegating work.

What is Effective Delegation?

Are you someone who delegates all of your work to your team members and prefer being an audience? Or, do you delegate very little or, no work?

Effective delegation involves carefully assessing each of team members’ skills and competencies. Your team members will have specific areas of interests. There would be certain other areas on which they need to work some more and some others in which they are masters.

The key to effective delegation involves the following –

  1. Delegating activities which are of utmost priority to team members who are masters in it.
  2. Delegating critical activities to people who have an interest in those areas.
  3. Delegating less critical activities that have some time to completion to people who are not experts in these areas and who require some grooming.

Though these could act as guidelines to deciding on how to delegate work, these might not be necessary rules to delegating. Effective delegation could involve a combination of all of these aspects. At times your decision could also be based on the composition of your team. Whatever the basis of decision, you need to bear in mind that your delegation should not in any way hamper the deliver-ability of the activities being assigned.

A few other aspects that you should need to keep in mind while deciding on how to delegate –

  • Keep in mind, not to put somebody in charge of someone which whom they have a negative relationship.
  • While delegating you should keep the “favoritism” aspect out of the decision making process. Delegate unbiased.
  • You would not want to loose control of the situation and become vulnerable. Do not delegate everything that is important and put the burden on the shoulders of somebody else. Keep somethings that are important with you and stay in control. Keep on eye on everything that is happening around you.

It is often found that a lot of bosses delegate everything and finally find themselves at the edge of the cliff with no way to go. Don’t loose control of the situation ever.

Delegation and Motivation –

Every employee wants to be identified and wants some extra responsibility so that he can show his worth. He starts to develop a monotony with the activities that he has been doing everyday. There starts to develop a lack of sense of belongingness. They begin to distance themselves from the team and the team leader.

The gradual shift of the team member from the team and the feeling of not being important is the core of demotivation and loss of production. Delegation can take care of this to a great extent.

Additional responsibilities will make them feel important. They will learn and acquire new skills thus making their work even more exciting and interesting. They will identify themselves with the team and the leader.

I still remember once of the employee in a team of mine who had a huge problem in outage. His leaves exceeded much more that then entire team taken together and he has a reason every time he went on an unapproved leave. He was given the responsibility of outage management for the team. He had to approve leaves for the team. Gradually over a period of time, I observed that he became very efficient and kept his outage within control because he had to answer every other team member if he disapproved their application. Also he had the responsibility to ensure that the team’s outage is within control.

Delegation can do a world of good for your team members in motivating them and upskilling them in their career aspirations.