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Don’t Forget to Delegate!

By Emilie Shoop (1018 words)
Posted in Management on October 21, 2012

There are (21) comments permalink

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By Emilie Shoop, Creator and Leader of Shoop Training & Consulting

Now that you are the manager or supervisor you need to stop doing the work.  Now, I’m not saying you won’t have any work to do!  Sorry, you won’t get off that easy here.  What I am saying, however, is that your role has changed.  It is no longer your job to get the bulk of the work done, but to manage it getting done.  There is a big difference.


Moving into a management role requires learning and utilizing the art of delegation now more than ever before.  Delegation is important for not only your development (and sanity) but for the development of your team.  Let them do the work and amazing things will happen.


Most people realize and understand the need to delegate.  So what happens to prevent us from doing it?  Why are there so many books and workshops about it?  Where do we lose control of it?  Here are Five common senarios that prevent managers from delegating.


It is emotional.

Especially when starting a role as a manager for the first time, there is that feeling of wanting to prove you are qualified for the role.  Some see it as a sign of weakness when they delegate.  Others feel guilty that they cannot get everything done.  It’s ok!  You are not supposed to do everything as the manager.  Remember, it is your job to ensure the work required of your team is accomplished.


It is easy.

Often, people are promoted from within a team.  It is very easy then, to keep doing work that you did for the team beforehand.  At first, it may seem like you are helping the team out by not offloading that work onto them as you move into your new role.  Unfortunately, it does more harm than good in the long run.  Taking on those tasks will not allow you to spend 100% of your time managing and leading the team.


It is comfortable.

Then there is the issue of comfort.  It is comfortable to do work you used to do before your promotion.  It is comfortable to do tasks you could delegate because you know you can do them well; maybe even in your sleep!  It is uncomfortable to grow into your new role no matter how excited you are about it.  Growth is definitely scary and thrilling all at once.


It is a matter of time.

When you do delegate, there can be a feeling of “it would just be faster if I do it myself.”  While on the surface this appears true, it is not.  Delegating a task involves the opportunity cost.  The delegated task frees up your time to do something else.  The person who does the task is allowed the opportunity to shine at completing it.  Both parties benefit from delegation.


It is a bother.

There are times when the task that needs to be delegated is repetitive and possibly boring.  It makes you second guess delegating it because you value the person you are delegating the task to.  Try looking at it this way:  if you see your manager doing all the day-to-day repetitive tasks, how much confidence will you have in his or her ability to plan for the future and lead the team toward success?  Not much.  It will appear that being the manager just means the same work, different title, and maybe a bigger paycheck.  That is not how you want your team to see you!  Do not worry about it being a bother for them to do the work!


Stop and do a self-check:

Do any of the above scenarios sound like you?  Are you delegating enough of your workload so you can focus on managing and leading your team?  Or do you feel like you just have a new title but are continuing to do all the same old work?


If you are not sure, monitor your work over the next three to five days.  Keep a diary of everything you are working on…EVERYTHING.  It is also very helpful to track how long it takes you, but that is not necessary here.  After the three to five days have passed, take a look at your list.  Is there anything you should be delegating?


Now, think about the environment you want to create for your team.  Do you want a team that is forward-thinking, efficient, empowered and growing?  By stepping back and figuring out what you can delegate, you will work toward each of these goals.  The more you delegate, the more the team can contribute.  The more the team can contribute, the more successful your team will be!


Please join the conversation in 'This Week's Discussion'

Written by Emilie Shoop
First Time Manager or Supervisor Expert for ManagingAmericans.com, Creator and Leader of Shoop Training & Consulting


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Comments (21)

DANIEL QUIAMBAO posted on: October 23, 2012

There reasons why delegation is hard for some managers. It is difficult for managers to delegate when some managers have no training, experience, role models, examples or basic idea as to how to delegate.Others do not trust the staff to take on more important or critical duties. Managers may feel awkward handing off part of what they may consider to be their own job that they should handle themselves. In addition to these, other reasons why managers may have difficulty with delegation is they have fear and it is often a contributing factor to an inability to delegate; some said it is time consuming. It takes too much time to sit down and explain to an employee how to do a task, especially if they are burdened with several deadlines.

Paul Cavanagh posted on: October 29, 2012

Trouble is in the day and age we live with costs needing cutting everywhere i find we're breeding positions that have broad scope and need to multitask, i find it infuriatingly frustrating on a day to day basis and just want to get in there and do it myself.

Self discipline planning and executing your plan is the way forward and not to get dragged into "just helping" with the odd task, step back evaluate consider options delegate follow up........

James Lawson posted on: October 29, 2012

I have found that getting in there with the employee's, and taking the time to show them how to do the task the right way the first time, is crucial. I may fall behind in the beginning, but the employee picks it up and rolls with it. Then, the time saved is doubled further down the road. Management also includes patients, and the willingness and open mindedness to expand your skills to everyone available. It's amazing the respect you gain from your co-workers when they see you jumping in there with them. There are so many hours in the day, and we can't do it all.

Paul Cavanagh posted on: October 29, 2012

However in logistics and parcels/mail we dont have a choice ... we must do it all as tomorrows a failure......................

Andrew Van Oirschot posted on: October 29, 2012

I beleave if you employ the right people and let them know what there role is and ensure they do it from the start and dont micro manage every thing it should not be a problem

Lynda Davis posted on: October 29, 2012

If you take on too much yourself it creates too much stress. Delegating to competent people what you can, while maintaining just the critical tasks, will allow you to be more effective. By delegating you also are growing that employee with new learning experiences, so they too will ultimately become better and more knowledgeable associates.

alessandro muroni posted on: October 29, 2012

Hi Paul, I think every jobs today don't allow to push out...

In my experience delegating is a hard topic. Yes, clear, this is the target to survive, it's easy to say: just delegate, that's all, but people (always "people", not products or machines..) make it easy or not. Especially when it's not a low cost option to change them (in Italy it is!!). I'm in love with teaching, training, communication, but often I see expected reactions are not coming, both for mind limit or natural resistance to change and learning. So I spend my time in this process: training, controlling, infuriating, correcting wrong decisions, getting targets anyway...
And that's my passion!

MZ Fanani posted on: October 29, 2012

Yes I agree too much work makes you dull, it does not mean you dont wanna work, to be good manager is how good you manage the work portion and delegation. Thrust must be given then followed with goals, procedures and reporting system also must clear. Monitoring and controlling, correct when decision found not working.
...... You are within goals achievement ......

Bruce Perdue posted on: November 7, 2012

As an operations manager, there is never a shortage of things to do. As James said above, we should take the time to show each employee the correct way of doing their tasks. This means, we should know how to do it ourselves, and the best way to know it is to experience it firsthand. I have always made it a practice to know from experience how to do each job I assigned to my employees. Doing each job isn't realistic in a large firm, but we can at least still be knowledgeable by knowing the procedures and best practices. Being able to pass on the skills and knowledge to your employees should prevent you from having to take too much of the work on yourself. Of course, this means we as managers need to be able to allow our employees to learn and even make mistakes.

Dave Tibos posted on: November 13, 2012

I think delegation is the key to getting the job done from my view of operations manager. However there are a couple of important for me to delegate effectively.
1. I know the job. This for me comes with hands on experience or with spending time with staff that have had on experience.
2. Know my people. Again this for me comes from spending time with them. This way I have a bit of an idea as to how the job fits with them and their abilities.
3. My confidence as a manager this comes also partly from knowing the job and my people. However the added ingredient is confidence in myself as a manager and my own abilities. Knowing where my abilities are at helps me to be more confident in the job.

Duane Furner posted on: November 13, 2012

We used to always say at FedEx "you can't manage your area from inside a trailer". Use the people you have and delegate, then follow up. For whatever reason, follow up has always been the Achilles heel for most managers. I used to be "no one can do it better than me" but that's not what a manager is paid to do. No doubt, it's tough to let go sometimes. One of the marks of a good manager is making sure you have your replacement trained and that you are constantly developing your people.

Connor Jordan posted on: November 13, 2012

Here's a quick read on "4 steps to effective delegation" for anyone interested...

Alec McPherson posted on: November 13, 2012

As a MBB, I have found the more I facilitate and less actual work I do, the more the class attendees learn.

Michael Royo posted on: November 13, 2012

I agree with Alec, less is more in this case. I've facilitated a lot of Kaizen events over the past 7 years. In the role of a facilitator I am responsible for taking the group through the improvement process (current state to future state), but they are the content experts. In these situations the more they do, the more engaged they are, the more they will support the final outcome and in almost every single case the higher the quality of the ideas. By day 3 if I have done things right, every single idea that I might come up for improvement has already been suggested by the group and probably in an improved version. Getting the group to own the ideas also goes a long way towards convincing those that didn't participate in buying in to the future state.

Christopher Thames posted on: November 28, 2012

I think a great question to ask to go along with this discussion topic would be,"How do we lessen the load of work when there are people present but you still have no one to delegate to?". Their is obviously some quality control issues or trust issues, how do we resolve these problems to lessen the load on those who are doing a majority of the work?

Dianna Booher posted on: November 28, 2012

This article identifies several REAL reasons people refuse to delegate--not just the reasons they articulate for not delegating.

Jay Tomes posted on: November 28, 2012

I like these concepts to help us LEARN delegation: "Only do what only YOU can do"
"Focus on your Vital Few ... delegate or delay the Trivial Many"

Akilah Charlemagne posted on: November 28, 2012

Great post. It's important to delegate so that you can be the most effective leader at work and to ensure that you develop your team. It's not always easy to hand over an important task or project. But, if you don't allow your team to stretch and sometimes make mistakes you may miss out on innovative solutions that will advance your organization.

Susan Szpila posted on: November 28, 2012

My biggest problem was that i knew the workload my team had and by delegating more would I overwork them so much I would lose good people. I probably didn't give them the benefit of the doubt that they could have handled more and thereby making everyone more efficient.

Ajay Kaul posted on: November 28, 2012

Sometimes it's also an issue with expectations. When I am promoting an employee, I need to align their goals for the year in line with my expectations of their new role. If this is not set upfront, new promotees are more likely to just continue doing what they were doing earlier.

William Woloschuk posted on: November 28, 2012

This is a great topic for our discussion, since we have all faced managing others either directly or indirectly as some time or another. If you are managing a new Project for instance, you need to delegate various tasks that you need your Project Team to accomplish. As you meet with your team, you need to show that your are confident and assured that you are in control, and that you can delegate
work to others to get completed. You need to identify each task so it's clear to each of them and then step back and only be available to help them when they ask, or you see things aren't going as per your plan.

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