Delegation: The effective way to multi-task
Tips for effective delegation
Getting things done through others has always been management’s most important responsibility, but a very common thing we see in business is the lack of effective delegation. Sometimes people rise through the ranks and even head their own company without being aware of how poor delegation is severely impacting their world.
Delegation frequently gets a bad name, because the boss “dumps” the unwanted task in someone’s lap, doesn’t explain why, and doesn’t provide training or effective follow-up and coaching. Delegating correctly, however, is very freeing for everyone and is the effective way for a leader to multi-task.
Delegation success storyWhen my partner, Tery, was in the corporate world, he managed four departments in a 24/7 business. He often worked seven days seventy-plus hours a week. Within a few months, by taking the right actions, the operation ran better; his people were happier while he cut his time in half. Various performance measurements improved dramatically and Tery even asked to take on another department! How was this accomplished? Much of this remarkable improvement was due to implementing a plan of proper delegation.
Tery started by reviewing everything he was doing. He did an analysis to see where his time was spent and then met with his boss. They prioritized all the reoccurring tasks, and listed the things that mattered most to his position (high payoff activities). They decided several things could be streamlined, eliminated or delegated.
Tery determined which tasks someone else could do better, faster, cheaper, or for their development. Some tasks showed an obvious need for delegation, while others should be delegated purely for his people’s growth. In almost all cases, the people receiving the task required training, which he provided. Once the plan was implemented, great results started occurring almost immediately.
Your delegation attitudesAre there things you are currently doing that others in your organization can and should do? If so, the first step in letting go is to identify beliefs and attitudes toward delegation that may be holding you and your people back.
Perfectionism is a big one do you think you have to do it all yourself, and that nobody can do it better? Do you feel you don’t have the time to train others or that it’s just easier to do yourself? Do you feel guilty for delegating certain things? If so, you’ll need to change these beliefs or you will be doing the same tasks years from now!
Continuing to do tasks yourself that others can or should do will keep you from handling your priority items, which
holds the entire organization back.
Tips for effective delegation
- Determine what things are most important for you to do personally these are your High Payoff Activities.
- Look at everything else you do. Identify what can be eliminated, delegated or streamlined including pieces of your High Payoff Activities.
- Determine who would be the best person to receive each delegated task.
- Put together a training and followup plan to effectively transfer the task.
- Get with the person receiving the task. Explain the benefits to them, ask for their feedback and buy in.
- Allow time for the person to ease into the task and for you both to get used to the new routine. It doesn’t happen overnight.
More than just about anything else, a leader’s ability to successfully delegate will determine how effectively he or she develops as a leader. Another huge benefit is that through delegation, a leader also develops other team members. Delegation is absolutely critical for growth.
About the Authors
Linda Tennant, President of Attainment, Inc., was formerly Vice President of an international hotel chain and trained over 2,000 hotel managers and salespeople throughout the world. She has been using the LMI Behavior Change Process, to help clients in a variety of industries, set and achieve specific goals resulting in a measurable return on investment.
Tery Tennant has a background in corporate management, management consulting, small business operation and training. Tery has led multiple departments of over 70 people from diverse cultures and received various leadership awards. He teaches a variety of business and goal setting classes at local institutions and nonprofit organizations.