When I take a motorcycle trip I pack everything I need in luggage called a T-Bag. This is one brand of backpack-type luggage for motorcycles that straps onto the back seat and sissybar of the motorcycle. If the pack is loaded too heavily at the top, an imbalance occurs and the motorcycle is more difficult to manage. Backpackers understand the same principle for the packs they carry while traversing uneven terrain
As a manager or supervisor, you operate top-heavy and imbalanced when you carry more workload and responsibility than you need to – or can – handle. This happens when you fail to delegate to your people.
Delegating tasks not only lightens your load but also redistributes the weight of responsibility you carry. It spreads opportunities for learning and growth to your employees.
Make delegating a regular part of your management or supervisory style by following these suggestions.
- Decide which tasks other people can perform and which you must do yourself. Hint: Other than managing employee performance and salaries, most tasks can be delegated to your employees.
- Evaluate your employees’ strengths and align the delegated tasks to their strengths. You may also choose to give a task to someone who needs to strengthen a particular skill in order to help them develop that skill.
- Let people handle tasks in their own way unless your organization has specific processes defined for the tasks. Micro-management seldom creates a motivating environment.
- Explain clearly the expected results or goals for the tasks. When an employee understands that performing the task helps their growth and development, as well how it fits into the big picture of the organization, they are more open to taking on additional responsibility.
- Give the training, tools, and resources necessary for successful performance and results.
- Accommodate flexible work schedules or other needs that arise when an employee balances their direct job responsibilities with the additional delegated tasks.
- Take time to recognize and reward “above and beyond” performance throughout the process.
- Evaluate how things are going periodically, and take corrective action as necessary and appropriate to ensure success.
When you have a management or supervisory position you still retain ultimate responsibility for your department’s results. Delegating tasks does not absolve you of that. Delegating does allow you to do what you need to do as a manager while enabling your people to become better employees. You redistribute the load in your department while you prepare people for advancement and opportunities to grow their careers.
Delegation, done effectively, is a winning situation for everyone.