Why do people fail to delegate?
When to Delegate
- Lack of Time
- Perfectionism – fear of mistakes
- Enjoying : ‘Getting my hands dirty’
- Fear of surrendering authority
- Fear of becoming invisible
- Belief that staff are not up to the job
When to Delegate
- Is there any subordinate who has ability to do the task?
- Does the task provide opportunity to enhance your subordinate’s skills?
- Is there possibility to recur the task in similar form?
- Do you have sufficient time to explain / train your subordinate?
- Is the task very critical for your long term success? Would the failure be crucial?
- Is the task on critical path? Do you have sufficient slack time to repair / redo, if not done properly?
Whom to Delegate
- Knowledge, Experience & Skills
- Does the person have sufficient knowledge, experience & skills?
- Do you sufficient time to impart the skills needed?
- The individual’s preferred work style
- How independent is the person?
- What does he want from his job?
- What are his long term personal goals & how are they aligned with the task to be delegated?
- The current workload on the person
- Does the person has time to take more workload?
- Will the delegation process needs reshuffling of his other responsibilities or workload?
How to Delegate
- Do not avoid delegating something because you cannot give someone the entire project. Let the person start with a bite size piece, then after learning and doing that, they can accept larger pieces and larger areas of responsibility. Break large jobs into manageable pieces and delegate pieces to those who can do them more readily.
- Find out what the talents and interests of your people are and you will be able to delegate more intelligently and effectively.
- Clearly articulate the desired outcome. Begin with the end in mind and specify the desired results.
- Clearly identify constraints and boundaries. Where are the lines of authority, responsibility and accountability? Should the person:
- Wait to be told what to do?
- Ask what to do?
- Recommend what should be done, and then act?
- Act, and then report results immediately?
- Initiate action, and then report periodically?
- Where possible, include people in the delegation process. Empower them to decide what tasks are to be delegated to them and when.
- Match the amount of responsibility with the amount of authority. Understand that you can delegate some responsibility, however you can’t delegate away ultimate accountability. The buck stops with you!
- Delegate to the lowest possible organizational level. The people who are closest to the work are best suited for the task, because they have the most intimate knowledge of the detail of everyday work. This also increases workplace efficiency, and helps to develop people.
- Provide adequate support, and be available to answer questions. Ensure the project’s success through ongoing communication and monitoring as well as provision of resources and credit.
- Focus on results. Concern yourself with what is accomplished, rather than detailing how the work should be done: Your way is not necessarily the only or even the best way! Allow the person to control his or her own methods and processes. This facilitates success and trust.
- Avoid “upward delegation”. If there is a problem, don’t allow the person to shift responsibility for the task back to you: ask for recommended solutions; and don’t simply provide an answer.
- Build motivation and commitment. Discuss how success will impact financial rewards, future opportunities, informal recognition, and other desirable consequences. Provide recognition where deserved.
- Establish and maintain control.
- Discuss timelines and deadlines.delegating correctly, you will find that he or she quickly becomes competent and reliable.
- Agree on a schedule of checkpoints at which you’ll review project progress.
- Make adjustments as necessary.
- Take time to review all submitted work.
- Never take back a delegated item because you can do it better or faster. Help the other person learn to do it better.
- Delegation strengthens your position. It shows you are doing your job as a manager-getting results with others. This makes you more promotable.
- A person will be more excited about doing a project when they came up with the idea of how to do it, than if the boss tells them how to do it.
- Be sensitive to upward delegation by your staff. When they ask you for a decision on their project, ask them to think about some alternatives which you will then discuss with them. This way responsibility for action stays with the staff member.
- Resist the urge to solve someone else's problem. They need to learn for themselves. Give them suggestions and perhaps limits but let them take their own action
- The most difficult act in delegating process.
- Macro-control is necessary & not micro-control
- Give sufficient space to people to use their full abilities, but keep watch to ensure that the job is done correctly & timely.
Full Acceptance of the Work
- Review the full delegated work after completion.
- Compliment for the good work /qualities you have observed in the work. This will boost moral of the people & they will be psychologically ready to accept more difficult challenges.
- Tell the areas of improvement, so next time they can do better job.
- This way self confidence & efficiency both will improve in the next delegated work & this is win-win situation for both,
SMARTER Rule for Delegation
- Time bound
Steps for successful delegation
- Define the task
- Select the individual or team
- Assess ability and training needs
- Explain the reasons
- State required results
- Consider resources required
- Agree deadlines
- Support and communicate
- Feedback on result
Levels of Delegation
- Level 1 : Work as per instructions. No delegated freedom to the way of working.
e.g. “Wait to be told”, Do exactly as I say”, Follow the instructions precisely”
- Level 2 : Asking for investigation and analysis but no recommendation. The person delegating retains responsibility for assessing options prior to making the decision.
e.g. "Look into this and tell me the situation. I'll decide."
- Level 3 : encourage and enable the analysis and decision to be a shared process, which can be very helpful in coaching and development.
e.g. "Look into this and tell me the situation. We'll decide together."
- Level 4 : Possibility of greater freedom for analysis and decision-making, subject to both people agreeing this is appropriate. Again, this level is helpful in growing and defining coaching and development relationships.
e.g. "Tell me the situation and what help you need from me in assessing and handling it. Then we'll decide."
- Level 5 : Ask for analysis and recommendation, but you will check the thinking before deciding.
e.g. "Give me your analysis of the situation (reasons, options, pros and cons) and recommendation. I'll let you know whether you can go ahead."
- Level 6 : Trusted to assess the situation and options and is probably competent enough to decide and implement too, but for reasons of task importance, or competence, or perhaps externally changing factors, the boss prefers to keep control of timing.
e.g. "Decide and let me know your decision, and wait for my go-ahead before proceeding."
- Level 7 : Give control of the action. But still keeping an eye.
e.g. "Decide and let me know your decision, then go ahead unless I say not to."
- Level 8 : Gives more freedom to act. But still some sort of coaching is involved.
e.g. "Decide and take action - let me know what you did (and what happened)."
- • Level 9 : Higher level of control. Shows confidence.
e.g. "Decide and take action. You need not check back with me."
- Level 10 : Gives all the responsibility.
e.g. "Decide where action needs to be taken and manage the situation accordingly. It's your area of responsibility now."
Psychological Contracts, Emotional ContractsWhen you are delegating responsibility, there is some kind of agreement of getting the job done up to satisfaction. Unless such kind of agreement, delegation is not possible. Such agreement is sometimes implicit or some times explicit.