Work Delegation: Simple About the Complex Issue
- Written by Anna Koretskaya
Sooner or later, every manager has to solve a difficult question for himself: what of the huge array of tasks can be delegated to his subordinates? And that's a really serious dilemma. After all, it always seems that no one is able to complete the task faster and better than yourself. Can you imagine what would happen if you did everything yourself?
At first, it will seem to you that the word "perfect" does not accurately describe the highest quality of your work. After all, you put your soul into it, you did not miss a single little thing. A little noticeable fatigue gives strength, because it can only mean one thing - you did a great job.
But there comes one not too beautiful day when, due to urgent daily tasks, you do not have time to do anything really important. The eye twitches, the nerves are shaking, and the decision comes naturally: you will have to entrust part of the duties to other people.
You are very lucky if you already have subordinates and it remains only to choose suitable applicants. Otherwise, finding specialists in freelancing, outsourcing, etc. will add to your headache.
In the best case scenario, you will even have a choice: what and to whom to entrust. But the tasks are different, and so are the people. That is why their selection should be approached with all responsibility.
So, what are we being asked to delegate?
* Routine work
* Activities requiring special knowledge and skills
* Minor issues
* Preparatory stages of work
At first, it is quite difficult to single out a separate task, since it seems that they are all interrelated and one person must perform them. After thinking carefully about the situation, you come to the conclusion that monitoring news and changes for a certain period (day, 2-3 days, week) takes too much time and requires increased attention and concentration.
The decision has been made, it's a small matter to find an employee to whom you will entrust monitoring. But it still seems to you that the task may not be completed. The solution seems to be that two people will deal with this issue at once (of course, not knowing that the task was entrusted to both). Most likely, after some time they will find out about it. And here two options are possible: either there will be competition, or (most likely) the efforts of both will sharply decrease (after all, you can always leave part of the work to the second). And that's the first mistake. Delegate authority to only one person!
Conclusions are drawn, and you turn to one subordinate with a task. But you do not have time, so you briefly talk about the upcoming work, and for all the details ask to contact your deputy.
A few days later, it is time to get acquainted with the results of monitoring. And then everyone is waiting for an unpleasant surprise. First, the task was not finished, because the deadlines were not discussed in advance. Secondly, the monitoring is clearly not complete – a whole layer of information has been missed. This happened because you forgot to give the employee access to specialized databases (in other words, certain powers). And he, in turn, also did not ask, because he considered the task banal. In fact, in this situation lies another mistake of the leader: the subordinate was not explained the importance of the assigned task and was not taught elementary things. Thirdly, looking at the monitoring performed, you understand that you did not get quite what you need. Why did this happen? It's simple: the effect of a "damaged phone" worked, because you redirected the delegation to your deputy, who also does not have a clear and precise understanding of what result should be provided at the output.
After analyzing what happened, the employee tries to "return" this delegated task. Subconsciously, you feel that this is not the best idea, and reject such an "offer". And rightly so! It is necessary to deal with errors and leave the task to the employee. Accept delegated responsibilities back should only be in an extraordinary situation.
"So what to do next?" you ask. It is necessary to establish a control process for working hours, to decide when you will check the intermediate and final result. It is important not to go to extremes: check the work every ten minutes or be interested in it only at the very end.
Every time you feel righteous anger at the sight of mistakes and miscalculations, try to remain calm. Your emotional outbursts certainly won't improve the quality of your work. Remember that delegation is not a "shifting" of responsibilities, but training an employee in order to entrust him with a certain part of the work.
Perhaps at the end of such an "experience" you will grab your head with the words: "Why do I need this delegation?!". Don't jump to conclusions! A little patience, and you will definitely appreciate all the "pluses" of delegation of authority.
Of course, we exaggerate by portraying a leader who is unwilling to delegate his responsibilities to subordinates. But there is some truth in every joke. We hope that you have understood "how not to do it".
In order not to get into a similar situation, always remember the basic rules of delegation:
The main thing is the benefit for the company, everything else is secondary
A clear statement of the task with a detailed representation of the final result is important
It is necessary to provide certain powers and immediately discuss the possibility of the employee's initiative
It is possible to assist in the performance of the task, but it is better not to interfere with the work until the intermediate or final check
It is advisable to delegate the task personally and at the same time only to one person (if a group, then necessarily with the division of powers within it)
It is necessary to immediately set a deadline for the work, etc.
All of the above is really important. But, as HR directors like to claim, delegation is primarily a test of the competencies of both the manager and the employee.
A lot of the mistakes in delegation (and the fear of the measure itself) arise from misconceptions about it. What are these myths that constantly surround leaders at any level?
The most important fear is that employees will not cope, and the task will not be completed. There is always such a risk, but if you approach delegation with all responsibility, then it will practically come to naught. Preparatory work is of fundamental importance: the choice of an employee to perform a specific task, clear explanations, the provision of certain powers, etc. Even in force majeure circumstances, you should have time to correct the task and correct errors. Having correctly built the entire "system", you can be sure of the result.
Of course, every boss considers himself a "universal soldier" and that is why he thinks that he can cope with all the issues and tasks himself. Transferring his tasks to his subordinates for him is akin to painting in his own incompetence. But competent leadership is not about putting everything on your own shoulders. The manager needs to distribute functions, as they say, "to all according to ability."
And the last thing that managers rarely admit to is the fear of being left without a job after transferring part of their functionality to subordinates. Remember that the manager has a more global task than to deal with turnover! Also stable is the belief that the employee performing part of the duties of the manager (at the same time, according to legend, hypocritical and ambitious) sleeps and sees how to "sit" his boss. In this situation, the advice may be one: carefully choose employees and especially your deputies. The most important thing that should remain in the competence of the manager is the coordination of all processes and the management of the team. Everything else can and should be delegated!