Knowing When to Delegate

Time and time again there’s many a manager who gets swamped with work that he can’t delegate, and sometimes the reasons are related to the manager’s inability to trust his staff to deliver on time or at all.

Delegating is an important skill for any manager. It requires a clear understanding of various team members’ skill sets as well as their ability to meet deadlines and work alone or with others.

Some managers have people who may or may not have all the needed skills. For those who don’t, maybe no new hires can be added, and new skill development might take too long or cost too much, so what to do when you’re stuck? You might be able to do the task yourself… but then you don’t need a staff if you do it all yourself. Remember that your staff has something that got them to where they are now.

Personality Counts
Certain types of personalities want to grow their skills and may be more likely to take on new tasks if they know they’ll be supported. This may require you or someone from another department mentoring them during some of the project. Add this into the plan, and stretch the time line to accommodate the extra time mentoring and on the job learning adds.

There may also be certain personalities/staff who don’t want to extend themselves or don’t want to do anything out of their current comfort zones. This is where a manager with good people skills will try to discover ways of motivating those employees to take initiative, to help others progress (mentoring), and/or get more authority or autonomy in order to accept stepping out into a new role. There are ways to get more out of almost anyone, you just have to look deeper, find the hidden triggers. You may be pleasantly surprised… or not.

Every time you stretch your skills and those of your staff, these are your own “lessons learned”… developing your people skills and developing your staff’s skills constantly. Delegation will become easier, your trust level will rise, as will your staff’s trust in you to back them when things get tight.

Delegate or suffocate… which do you prefer?

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