Delegate and Deliver

March 4, 2009 -- Sal Silvester

Have you ever wondered why it is, that even with the most careful planning and organization, certain projects fail to achieve the results you envisioned? Ask yourself this question, “Did I derail my own plans because I was not willing to delegate?"

Some Perspective

We’ve all heard the phrase, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” From my point of view, nothing could be further from the truth.
As a veteran of three different corporations and the U.S. Army, I often think about the lessons I’ve learned over the years. What I know for sure is that learning to delegate effectively will make you a more effective leader. Yes, planning and organization can help, but if you aren’t delegating, chances are you will constantly battle the problem of keeping up with everything that has to be done, which leads to productivity issues.

These days, leaders are charged with many challenges, including the maximization of resources. Those who are in a position of responsibility must constantly be in the mode of developing talent. And, one of the best ways to do that is by delegating tasks.

Delegating accomplishes two things. One, it expresses your confidence in your team members. And two, delegation motivates team members to step outside of their box and go beyond the previously defined limits of their potential.

I’ve also worked with team leaders who had other preconceptions, which always seemed to hold them back from delegation: “Some people are basically lazy, interested only in their paycheck and fringe benefits.” Or, “If I grant team members additional responsibility my authority will be challenged.” Does that sound familiar?

These preconceptions are often the reason team leaders hesitate to assign tasks to their team members, resulting in a lack of productivity, low motivation among the team, and in general, real problems in the workplace.

What’s holding back the team leaders in your organization? In my experience one of the main reasons team leaders hold back is that they do not have confidence that they know “how to” delegate effectively, and that the assignment will be done well, and the belief that they have done so in a manner that demonstrates real leadership.

Many team leaders can benefit by a deeper understanding of the skills that those who delegate effectively use and put into practice every day.

A Solution

Our experience in working with hundreds of organizations has proven that management skill levels, like the ability to successfully delegate work, have a direct impact on business results:
• Increased productivity
• Maximized resources
• Developed talent
• Motivated employees

Our formula for boosting skill levels, which can also be found in our 4-hour “Delegating” workshop, is for leaders to do the following:
• Explain the need for delegation. Help people understand the "why" and the "what" behind the task.
• Use delegation of a task to motivate.
• Explain and ask for the team member's view on how to accomplish the task.
• Specify responsibility and authority. Make sure that you both agree upon a target completion date. Set milestones along the way for complex tasks.
• Confirm team member's understanding and set up time for review.
• Provide feedback when the task is complete, so that your team member can grow professionally and take on more responsibility on future tasks.

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