Delegation is a skill that is hard to master, whether you’re a business owner or a middle manager, at times it can feel risky to pass tasks and projects to others. You know you’ll do it right and it’s important that it’s done well, so it can be tricky to get your head around the fact that delegating could actually be the better path to take. Let’s take a moment to look at why delegation could hold the key to your professional success.
Are you working long hours? Is it a while since you took a holiday? Perhaps you’re reluctant to take a break because you know the work will build up if you do? According to the recently published CMI Future Forecast report, two thirds of managers work over 40 hours each week and almost a third work over 49 hours. So many managers feel pressure to check and respond to work emails on evenings, weekends and holidays, even when it’s not necessary. The result? More managers are experiencing problems with stress and being forced to take time out of the workplace. Do you need to commit to reducing your workaholic behaviour?
In contrast, an Australian survey carried out by recruiter Robert Half found that 87% of hiring managers admitted their staff were bored at work. They estimated that employees are bored for around one sixth of their working hours, which equates to six hours in a standard 37.5 hour working week. It’s a small survey, but one that highlights that when we look to our employees, not only may they be more time rich and therefore more capable of taking on a project but they could well relish and rise to the challenge.
When you’re working on too many tasks you risk spreading yourself too thinly. This can impact on the quality of your work or mean that you have to put on hold goals that are important to you or the business. Reducing your own workload through effective delegation could leave you more time to focus on your own personal development by exploring projects and ideas that are of more interest to you. If you’re a business owner, it could free up your time to focus your efforts where they are better concentrated for business growth. This could be bringing in new clients, working on strategy and planning or focusing on learning and development programmes to support your workforce in achieving more. It’s all too easy to think because we are capable of a task we should do it, but in reality, you could be limiting your overall achievement by taking on tasks indiscriminately.
Encourages staff development
Why did you hire the staff beneath you? Perhaps they’ve got some great relevant experience gained at other businesses or they’re fresh out of education and at interview were full of ideas. When we don’t delegate, we don’t test employees to their full potential. Taking time to pass on work and projects based on staff interests and skills is likely to help your staff to feel trusted, valued and more motivated. It can also help with staff retention too. And by encouraging staff development you are more likely to be able to promote from within and reduce on hire spend. That’s all before considering the potential new ideas and processes that could be uncovered by involving other people in handling things you’ve always taken on yourself. Your way of doing something may be reliable and work perfectly well but there could be an even more efficient or cost-effective way that a fresh pair of eyes could help you discover. By handing over decision making and problem solving to those with particular specialisms, you’re company is likely to benefit from quicker and more informed decisions. That’s a lot of positives for staff engagement and helping to create a fantastic company culture, all from learning to share a little better.
Changes communication techniques
Delegation can open up a lot of opportunities to change the way you communicate with your staff. Where previously managers, employees and wider teams may have had catch up meetings, when employees are trusted to work to their full ability, communications can often take on a more collaborative form. For managers who want to keep an overview of progress without the need for constant email check-ins or micromanaging, technology such as kanban management software can prove very useful. This collaborative tool shows who work is assigned to and how it is progressing and it also allows you to see where holdups are occurring. This makes it easier to set clear and achievable goals based on individual’s workloads.
If you’re guilty of letting tasks and projects you could pass on to take up too much of your time hopefully this post has put forth some persuasive arguments on why you should reconsider your stance. Failure to delegate is a thief of time, so consider this; do you really have time to waste?