Delegation is important for a manager or supervisor to avoid burnout and have the ability to complete a project thoroughly by established timelines. Managers and supervisor may avoid delegation because they may believe they are the only person capable of completing the task or they are afraid that they will not be needed, if other can complete the task. “When you delegate you farm out a task, however you are still responsible for managing it’s satisfactory and timely completion.” (“The Importance of Delegation”, Author, Krissy Jackson)
To delegate a task you should first decide who would be best to complete the job. Clearly state the objective and deadlines for the project. Putting the objectives and deadlines in writing will help the employee have a reference of what you discussed about the project. Give the employee access to any needed materials, such as memos and supporting documents. You should follow up on the project to be sure the employee understands the assignment and deadlines are being met. Also, be sure to make yourself available to the employee for questions to clarify any part of the assignment. Most importantly, make sure you give regular feedback and praise to support the employee’s efforts.
In order to be successful at delegation, you should realize that not everyone will complete a task in the same manner you would, be open to ideas, be a good communicator, accept that people make mistakes, and you must never lose your temper. Coach the employee through mistakes and misunderstanding and use an open dialog, rather than give orders and just point out mistakes. “Though delegation is one of the most difficult skills for a leader to acquire, it can be very successful and rewarding.” (National Collegiate 4-H, Delegation, http://www.collegiate4h.org/clubdevelopment/delegation.asp)
I am currently in my second management position. The first position I held was as a supervisor of solid waste. In my position there, I often delegated many of the previous supervisor’s tasks out to the assistant supervisor. I was able to focus on other tasks that lead to an increased profit for the department. My director and town council appreciated my efforts and understood that I needed to delegate tasks in order to move on to other tasks. Once I completed and implemented procedures, I often was able to delegate them.
In my second position as administrative services manager for a manufacturing company, the president of the company does not delegate well. I started delegating task to the administrative assistant and other office personal. Once, I had the time, I started a newsletter and other promotions for the company. I also created a new customer database that was more efficient and user friendly than our current Excel spreadsheet, which listed over 8,000 customers. The new tasks I had taken over where the president of the company’s responsibility and he had never let anyone else handle them before. The president’s main objective when he hired me, was for the administrative services manager to handle these task.
Though I had full approval to write the newsletter and take over the other tasks, my boss couldn’t let them go. Once I had written something, he would hold on to it for weeks and by the time he was ready for me to send it out, the material was not relevant. The president is a bottleneck. Projects get stuck in his office because he feels as though he has to do everything. The consequence is that he loses customers because he cannot keep up with their requests and there is a high employee turnover because employees fell as thought they are not important or a part of the organization.
Delegation can help a company create a good work environment for employees and can assist the company helping them increase customer satisfaction. If manager are able to delegate work, they are able to concentrate on development and their customers without delegation, managers are tied up in the small details, which can be handled by another employee. It is in a manager’s and the company’s best interest to teach and learn delegation skills.
1. Articlesbase, “The Importance of Delegation”, Author, Krissy Jackson, Career Coach, September 9, 2007, http://www.articlesbase.com/outsourcing-articles/the-importance-of-delegation-215012.html
2. National Collegiate 4-H, Delegation, http://www.collegiate4h.org/clubdevelopment/delegation.asp