Maximize Success by Learning to Delegate
As Hall of Fame baseball manager Casey Stengel once said, “Managing is getting paid for home runs someone else hits.” Unfortunately, many of us try to be a one-person team -- leading to stress, burnout, and inefficiency. While you may feel that it is easier to just do something yourself instead of assigning the task to someone else, failure to delegate leaves you less time to get to critical work. It also may cause others to feel like they aren’t trusted or that you are too picky.
Some people avoid delegating because they don’t like to spend time teaching someone how to do something. While it may be a bit more time-consuming in the short-term, think of the long-term benefit. Once the person becomes proficient at the task, your role will be greatly reduced – leaving you free to concentrate on other matters. (Added benefit: Your reputation as a leader increases with each person you train.)
Another key to successful delegating is learning how much assistance to give. While you don’t want to dump a project on someone without providing any help or input, you also don’t want to check in so often that the person feels like she is being micromanaged.
“In general, you want to give direction, autonomy, authority, responsibility, accountability, space, and credit,” says Brad Karsh, president of JB Training Solutions -- a workplace training and employee development company based in Chicago. “Make yourself available to answer questions and provide feedback, but don't smother. If you are giving them a project, assign a final due date, but also assign a ‘check in’ date. This will allow them to give it a go on their own, and then they can meet with you to make sure they are on the right track. As time goes on, they won't need as many ‘check ins,’ and they'll feel empowered to take more ownership in all of their work.”