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Being an effective manager: How to delegate

Mar 31
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Being an effective manager: How to delegate

An important skill every manager needs to learn and perfect is delegation, as it will help at all stages of their careers, according to Marielena Sabatier, executive coach and managing director of Inspiring Potential.

Ms Sabatier believes that as managers progress and develop, delegation will become a crucial skill that will allow them to grow into their roles, while also enabling their teams to take on new responsibilities.

She suggests that handing out work to employees can stop managers taking on too much and getting unnecessarily stressed, but they shouldn't feel like they have to take on every task, as this is an unrealistic approach to the job.

Good delegation frees up time and allows managers to help their teams progress, but doing it well takes investment, time, clear communication and commitment, Ms Sabatier explained.  

One mistake that is often made is assuming it is done by abdicating, but this is not the case, as managers can't assign someone a task and leave them to it. It always needs to be managed properly and carefully, ensuring the employee isn't disempowered.disempowered.

It's also important that no micro-managing is involved, as this will undermine the team member they originally trusted to do the job and could result in too much time spent overseeing every detail, meaning they should have just done it themselves in the first place!

Ms Sabatier has created a few steps to help managers delegate more efficiently.  

Firstly, you need to decide who to delegate to, keeping in mind their capabilities. If you don't feel confident that they can do the task or if they can be trained to do it, don't give it to them. Skills and experience should be considered, rather than the length of time the employee has been there for.

Think about the task at hand and what you want the outcome to be before you hand it out. Also, confirm in your own mind that the assignment can be delegated, as there are some that you'll need to do yourself.

Take the time to explain to the employee what needs to be done, ensuring that you are being as specific as possible about your expectations. This is one of the key elements of effective delegation, so it is important that you set out clearly what must be achieved and define the objectives. You should also outline why the job is being handed out. The employee should understand the relevance and importance of the task, and where it fits in the overall scheme of things.

This is something that you need to be very clear on, as well as detailing if it is complex or on a large-scale and needs to be done in stages, while providing the specific dates each part needs to be done.

Checking progress
While micro-managing is a definite no-no, you still need to check the progress the employee has made on the assignment. It's important to do this in a way that still makes them feel that they are trusted to complete the task. Step back, provide guidance when needed and have regular meetings to review what's been done so far.

It's also vital that you give the employee constructive feedback, as it's critical the team or employee knows how they're doing and if they've performed well. If they haven't achieved what was expected, you must conduct a review and discuss with them why things haven't gone to plan. You must absorb the consequences of the failure and pass on the credit for success.

Another big mistake managers often fall into is taking a piece of work that is not right and attempting to fix it themselves. When this happens, neither you nor the employee benefit from the experience, as you will continue to have too much on your plate and the worker is unable to learn from their own mistakes.

Every piece of work should be viewed as an opportunity and it must be fully owned by the employee and handed back to them if it fails to meet the required standards. This is the only way that your team will progress and learn.

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