For 2008, you may have promised do something different or start something new. Maybe you want to work smarter so you have more time for fun or family.

One of the best ways to work smarter is to delegate effectively. To test how good you are, try asking yourself these 6 questions;

  • Am I still doing repetitive or administrative tasks?
  • Am I still “doing” rather than mainly managing?
  • Do I need to always be in control or believe that only I can do a task well?
  • Do I do all the best projects in my team?
  • Is my team’s morale low or their work unproductive?
  • Do I have difficulty keeping talented team members?

If you find yourself saying “Yes” to 3 or more of those questions, it’s time to rethink your management style and examine what and how you delegate!

You are not alone. Many managers struggle to delegate effectively. They waste time on low priority tasks. They either won’t delegate anything or they abdicate by dumping projects or tasks on their team at the last minute.

Your biggest benefit is that you claim back your time to focus on what’s important to you. Your team benefits as they get to do interesting tasks or projects, develop new skills and increase their job satisfaction. They are more likely to stay in your team so you pay less in recruitment & training fees.

Everyone’s a winner! So where do you start?

Getting Started

Over the next 2 weeks, every time you start a new task, attend a meeting or work on a project, challenge yourself.
~ Is this the best use of my time?
~ Could someone else do it instead of me?

Typical managerial tasks to delegate might include

  • checking budget reports
  • compiling metrics
  • writing monthly reports
  • approving the work of capable team members
  • writing or updating Standard Operating Procedures

I’m sure you can think of even better examples than these! Virtually any administrative or maintenance task could be delegated

Getting it right

Successful delegation starts when a manager shares

S election. Who is the right person to select? The best choice may not the person with most time or the best skills. You want someone with potential who will learn new skills and bring energy & enthusiasm.

H elp. How much help will they need from you or other people? You don’t want to spend more time explaining how to do a job than doing it yourself. Tell them what outcome you want and see what ideas & plans they come up with.

A uthority & responsibility. Who is responsible for the outcome? Do you need to keep overall authority of the task or project?

R isks. What happens if mistakes are made or a project runs into problems. Is failure an option? It’s a powerful learning experience and spurs on determined people!

E valuate. Once you have delegated a task or project, you need evaluate how it is going. Is the person overwhelmed, are they coping or hopefully doing a great job?

S uccess. If you both started with clear goals in mind, knew what you wanted to achieve and helped out when problems arose, consider it a great success.

That’s the time to reward yourself with the time you have released, reflect on what went well for both of you and keep on delegating!

Putting it into practice

So go back to that list of tasks or projects and look through it.
~ What can you delegate?
~ Who can you delegate it to?
~ How are you going to start?

Right now is the best time to get started.