Achieve exceptional results with delegation

If you’re passionate about something, or heavily invested emotionally and financially in its future, it can be hard to let go. Delegation can be uncomfortable but it is an essential trait of being a leader.

Here are some tips on how to delegate responsibility.

  • Be open to training others. Accept that you are not the only one who can do the job the right way and properly. If you happen to be the only one with the skills and experience at this point in time, take the time to train someone. They may even be able to improve on the process, speed or effectiveness, as they are coming to the task fresh.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. People won’t be clamouring to help if they don’t know you need it. A good leader proactively goes out to find the help they need, in the right people for the right tasks. People assume that busy and overworked people thrive on that kind of behaviour, so it is up to you to raise your hand and say you need support. Ask nicely, give people a true idea of what it involves, and if possible, tell them why they have been chosen.
  • Trust Others. This may mean allowing them to practice and make mistakes. It may mean that they do things slightly differently from you, while achieving the same or better results. And don’t give up if their first effort isn’t as successful as you’d hoped. Let them know what they did well and what they could improve on in future
  • Provide direction and freedom. Respect the ability of the person you’ve asked for help and let them find their own pathway to the solution. Do this by presenting the objective and the end game, but give them the freedom to get there in their own way.
  • Equip your team member with the right tools. If they need password access, a licence for a new system or the right equipment, make sure you set them up for success by organising this at the outset.
  • Focus on one thing at a time. You may be a fantastic multi-tasker and could do the job in your sleep, but this isn’t true of your team member. Recognise that they might be slower than you or need to focus on other jobs on their list.
  • Be supportive. Be open to questions, weighing in on recommendations and put some time into training. A proper briefing and training upfront is essential as once you’ve invested this time, you’ve set your team member up for success. If you can’t be interrupted all the time to answer questions, how about setting up a 15 minute slot each day where you can provide help.
  • Mistakes happen. Be a positive supporter and accept that there will be some roadblocks along the way. If you get frustrated and impatient, your team will pick up on this. Confidence can be lost and they may dread working with you.
  • Things will go wrong. So make firm back up plans and take the time at the outset to think about how you will address and correct challenges or hitches when they arise. The most important thing to communicate to your team member is that you will support them and have their back if things go awry.
  • Recognition spurs good behaviour and goodwill. Whether it’s a thank you email from a senior executive, a morning tea to signal you appreciate their work, or a more formal workplace recognition, celebrating success is absolutely essential to your employees. A little goes a long way.

Delegating can be difficult, but it also has many rewards – for you, for your team member and ultimately for the business. Put the above into action and your team will be outstanding performers in no time.

Author: John Richmond
Team Leadership Services