Category Archives: Leadership Skills

delegate-work

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.

Exhibiting Empathy

Being Empathetic – Traits of a Good Leader

Exhibiting Empathy

What is the single most important thing that distinguishes a good leader from a bad one?

You will find numerous leaders around you – in your organization, in your country and even in your family. Leaders influence you and your actions and in some way becomes responsible for your goals in life. They pave the way to your career and show you the ways to achieving them.

It is the same in case of a bad leader too. He too would influence you to a great extent. But it is unlikely that you would look upto him. Perhaps because of his behavior. Is there something else as well that makes him different from a good leader?

Empathy!!!

It is empathy that distinguishes a good leader from a bad. That’s right.

Leadership houses on the foundation of empathy. I have quite often come across leaders, rather worked with leaders who are more focused towards getting things done or, achieving their individual goals in life. In doing so they would not be bothered about how their followers are feeling or, what they are going through. They would profess things that they would not have done in the wildest of their dreams.

A lot of leaders, after they become leaders forget the path that they have treaded en-route to their position. They forget the difficulties that they had faced. They start thinking as if they were never in the position that their followers were in. This brings in an “I am not bothered” approach in their behavior. People follow such leaders for some time, but gradually when they start feeling that their leader is not empathetic towards them, they start to move away from such leaders.

What is Empathy?

A bookish definition is not what I would want to present here as an answer to this question. What is real is empathy?

My manager walks up to me and says that he wants to spend some time with me. He sits with me and listens to what I have to say. He is transparent with me and understands and acknowledges everything that I am going through and speaks to me about all the changes, its impacts and the like. I start to feel that he is with me and is like me and that he understands me.

This is a situation, when I as an employee look up to my Manager as a leader – a leader who is empathetic towards me. We can quote a thousand different definitions for “empathy”, but what empathy actually means can only be explained by someone who has actually been touched with it.

For a manager to develop empathy, he has to come out of his shell. A manager has to get outside and spend time with his direct reports to understand his situation and develop a sense of empathy towards him. Spending time with your direct reports at his workstation is not what it means. Rather, you need to spend time with him at places where he is his actual self, where he behaves naturally. It is only then that you will be able to understand him in detail. Such interactions help you know what the real world and real environment is like. You need to be genuinely interested in your people.

At this juncture it is also important to understand the fact that merely spending time with them will not bring in empathy. You need to ensure that you bring back the evidence of this real world to your office.

It is not unnatural for all of us to get entangled in data, given the kind of tough environment that we work in. But what we need to take care off is that we are not forgetting how to empathize with our direct reports. You might have all other traits in you, but without empathy these traits are of no use and you would still be much far away from being a good leader.

Readers who are interested in formal study of leadership might try some courses from a masters in leadership program at an accredited university, for example, St Josephs University Online