Leave your ego at the door. A big mental speed bump to delegation is that “If you want it done right, then do it yourself.” Remember, you’re not the only person in the world who can do it right. You may be the only person who can do it right at this very moment, but if you take the time to train someone, they can probably do it right, too. And (don’t pass out) they might even be able to do it faster or better than you. This is something you need to not only accept, but invite!
Stop waiting for people to volunteer. ASK FOR HELP! It’s not a sign of weakness. And if you’ve got “martyr syndrome”, you’re probably overwhelmed, and you wonder why people don’t ever offer to help. When they do, maybe you turn them down, just to be polite, and quietly wonder why they didn’t insist. Actually, many people are quite oblivious to what others are going through. Let go of any frustration you might have and don’t expect them to change. But you can! It’s ultimately your job to communicate your needs. Please don’t view asking for help as some form of weakness. It’s not. But trying to do everything yourself is a weakness and not good for the organization as a whole – or you!!.
Attitude is everything. Your tone of voice, body language, WHERE you delegate or ask for help are extremely important. I know, basic stuff, right?? Well, I had two questions last month asking what to do when a boss delegates with a “tone” in their voice as if they are a dictator making demands rather than asking for help. How do you think that’s going to turn out, LOL? Give it the right setting(an office or conference room if possible). Be collaborative in your approach to the person getting the task, work, project. Lean forward. Smile. RELAX. Pause for them to absorb it and ask questions. LISTEN. And be sure to express supreme confidence in their abilities to perform the job at hand superbly. Confidence breeds confidence! AND competence!
Delegation is not dumping. If you really want to reap the benefits of delegation, “delegate don’t dump”. Try to never give someone the impression that all you’re giving them is “garbage” work. Don’t imply that you are just dumping unpleasant assignments on them that you or no one else wants to do. Certainly not the first time or two you give them something new to do. And later, when that does become a necessity based on shear volume, try to spread that around and be honest about the work. It’s not a glamorous job but it needs to be done and I’d really appreciate your help on this. Something to that effect.
Recognize your helper when it counts. Delegating tasks to someone else is necessary if you are to take on more and more responsibility. It’s counterproductive when you delegate the task, your helper works hard, and then you take all the credit. Recognize and praise the efforts of others on your behalf. Catch ’em doing something right, as I have always preached!
Say Thank You. When someone does something for you, it is important to say thank you, acknowledge the help and let the helper know they are appreciated otherwise you appear ungrateful. People are more likely to offer to help again if they feel appreciated.
The Delegation Quiz
Here is an opportunity to learn how well you delegate. This exercise will help identify your strengths and determine where improvement would be beneficial. Rate yourself as follows:
1. Each of my subordinates know what I expect of him ____
2. I involve employees in goal setting, problem solving and productivity-improvement activities___
3. I place my personal emphasis on planning, organizing, motivating and controlling rather than on doing tasks others could do___
4. When assigning tasks, I select the assignee thoughtfully___
5. When a problem occurs on a project I have delegated, I give the employee a reasonable chance to work it out for himself___
6. When I delegate work to employees, I brief them fully on the details of the assignment___
7. I see delegation as one way to help employees develop their knowledge, skills and expertise___
8. When I delegate a project, I make sure that everyone involved knows who is in charge___
9. When delegating a task, I balance authority with need and experience___
10. I hold my employees responsible for results___
A score between 41 and 50 suggests you are on target. A score between 31 and 40 indicates you are just getting by but could improve. Anything below 40 means you immediately need to make changes in your delegation skills.