If you want something done, do it yourself: we grow up with this idea that it’s often better to do things on our own. Is this why we find it so difficult to delegate?
We can be afraid of losing time or influence, of being seen as lazy, or that the work will be done badly. However, delegating is one of the pillars of management: great managers know how to make the shift from doing to leading. Alone we can sometimes go faster, but together we can go further!
So why is it important to know how to delegate? How do you learn to trust your team? What are the essential tips for better delegation?
Knowing how to delegate: 4 concrete benefits
Delegating does not mean losing control. On the contrary, it is a very smart way to share the workload among the team and give your team members a little more space and autonomy. Your employees will be in the right conditions to give their best.
Here are the 4 major benefits for the team and the manager when delegating is done right:
Empower your team members. If you give objectives to your team members but they know that you will systematically go back to them to review or redo everything, your team members will rely on you forever and won’t progress. Also, your workload will keep growing and soon become unsustainable!
Help your employees progress and motivate them. The more you give your employees the opportunity to show what they are capable of, the more likely they are to develop their skills, and the more reasons you will have to trust them. Delegating is proving that you believe in their goodwill and capabilities: you are showing them that you believe they will succeed. You value their skills, so they will naturally want to get involved.
Strengthen group cohesion. Delegating implies trust and making yourself available. A good manager gives an assignment to an employee but does not disappear. He knows how to make himself available to support him when needed.
Manage your time and focus your work on strategic topics. When delegating, you can spend more time on value added topics and less on more operational tasks. This new bandwidth will also allow you to leave your comfort zone.
Delegating well is positive both for the manager and the team members. If you encounter some of the following things, it may be that you don't know how to delegate well: you work a lot of extra hours, there is a high turnover in your team, your team members lack confidence when they work on a project, you have too many priorities to manage.
However, transferring some of your tasks is not always an easy thing to do. It's even an art! So where to start?
Our advice on how to delegate well
To delegate effectively, you need to consider the skills of each person in your team. Ask yourself the right questions: why is this the right person to do this task? What are their skills? What difficulties might they encounter? How can you help them succeed? Will they be able to progress?
Once you are sure the profile is a good fit, clearly explain the context to your team member. How does this task contribute to the company's overall mission? Why is it important, for the company, but also for you as a manager? This will make the assignment more meaningful and therefore motivate your team members. Don't forget that you are a team, and that if your team member fails, you fail with him. Define clearly the mission, give a realistic deadline and do not withhold information. Give them everything they need to succeed, including all the important documents and the right contacts.
Once you have given them all the information they need to carry out their new mission, follow up closely. Set up clear objectives to drive your team member and make the expected result as tangible as possible. Plan weekly updates to support your team members over time. It is also important to give feedback, whether positive (to value your team members’ work) or negative (to help them do better next time). In any case, make sure that your feedback is always constructive.When you start delegating more, you need to be prepared to accept some new things (at least at the beginning) including that:
The other person may do things differently than you.
The task may take a little longer to complete than when you were in charge. Keep in mind that you too had your own learning curve.
You need to spend some time on follow up and give feedback. Remember that this is time well spent as your team will become more autonomous and successful.
Finally, keep in mind that not everything can be delegated to your team. You remain the manager of the team! Avoid, for example, delegating vision and strategy, recruitment, recognition of the work accomplished by the team or the definition of objectives and performance review.
If you are still reluctant to delegate some of your tasks, don't hesitate to start gradually: first give a small task to someone who seems motivated by a specific project, offer someone to do the monthly presentation, etc. Progressively, you will find your balance and see the positive effects on your day-to-day and on your team members!