Many talk about wanting efficiency and effectiveness, but little is done. Delegating projects, jobs and tasks to others is maybe a manager’s most important tool for achieving his/her department’s goals and objectives. When one observes important goals are not being achieved in a timely manner, it is often the result of ineffective delegation.
There are many benefits to effective delegation; however, I want to focus on two.
- Effective delegation engages employees and helps them to become an important part of the organization.
- It allows the manager to perform primarily out of his/her strengths rather than his/her limitations.
Let me explain. Several years ago the Gallup Survey Group conducted a survey in which they looked at the level of employee performance and level of employee engagement.
Findings – In almost all of the organizations there was a large group of employees (about 50%) who worked at a compliance level. That meant okay performance, but nothing great. The interesting thing about these employees is they had the same level of knowledge, skill and ability as the best performers. They were physically and mentally capable of performing at a much higher level of performance. Why didn’t they? The study found the difference to be that, because these okay-level workers didn’t believe their organizations valued them as persons and workers, they didn’t feel any loyalty to their organizations. They were not engaged in their organizations.
In the August 2006, HR Magazine, Susan Meisinger, wrote an article titled “To keep Employees, Talk-and-Listen-to-Them.” She quoted a survey conducted by Watson Wyatt, which showed a solid correlation between communication effectiveness and low organizational turnover and strong financial performance.
Think about this: engagement often begins through the process of effective delegation. Nearly every leadership book we read communicates the importance of performing out of one’s strengths rather than his/her limitations. Wouldn’t every manager like to perform out of his/her strengths! Effective delegation allows a manager to spend more time performing out of his/her strengths by delegating other work to those who have the performance strengths to do the assigned work. It is a great time management tool and also reinforces the employee’s value to the company by giving them meaningful opportunities to contribute.
Here are some rules to follow in order to effectively delegate a project or task to an employee.
- Pick the right person(s) for the job. (Match strengths to job requirements.)
- Provide complete details regarding the project or task. (Share expectations regarding results, time tables and budget.)
- Listen for a better idea. (Ask for ideas that may make the project or task even more successful.)
- Delegate a level of authority equal to the level of responsibility needed to do the work. (Delegating responsibility without authority is a morale killer.)
- Be available for consultations. (Delegation means you have some responsibility too, and abdication means you dump and walk out.)
One final thought – A man we know and respect frequently comments it is important to inspect what you expect. Make sure you build some check points in the plan so progress can be checked, changes made, and compliments offered.
Well, these are some thoughts we have regarding delegation and how it may help you and your organization perform at its best.