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Delegation - A Tactful Art

I’ve seen a lot of managers struggle in delegating the right work to right team members at right time. Consequently, they end up struggling to deliver on expectations and timeline. Of course, I am one of them and learning the hard way.

First, we need to be convinced that we must delegate else we aren’t adding value to the system at all.

We need to understand WHY SHOULD WE DELEGATE? Here are some pointers I connect with,

  1. Make Time - I need to delegate to make time for me to think what next, what new and how we improve the status quo of whatever we do

  2. Prepare for next big thing- I need to develop my team to take bigger responsibilities and challenges. If they aren’t ready, then I am not ready to take larger challenges as well

  3. Mutual TRUST and confidence are the biggest thing which I believe can develop when you appropriately delegate work to next level and give them opportunity

Well, I am sure we all understand WHY should we delegate, but problem connects with the need of delegation as to WHY WE DON’T?

  1. Lack of TRUST – Most importantly if I don’t trust someone or have no confidence in the capability I won’t delete. Rightly so, as I am responsible for what I need to deliver

  2. Need for Speed – Even if I trust and have confidence in capability, I may be reluctant to delegate work as I am not sure if that person would carry out the job with needed speed.

  3. Insecurity – Some managers feel, I am going to jeopardize my position if I delegate some important task to my team member and he does it well ☹. This is SAD

  4. Presumptions – I am not ready to take a risk as I assume, I am the best

So, now the question is WHAT SHOULD I DO to be able to DELEGATE?

  1. Coach, Train, upskill your team – This helps in developing mutual understanding, trust, and confidence on both sides

  2. Define and Set Expectations – Clearly state I am entrusting you this job as I need this outcome by this time. Once the person understands what is needed, why it is needed and why it is important, I believe, that person will give 100% to not fail you

  3. Be Selfish – Everyone is selfish in a way or other. Here, you look for what you get if you delegate well. You get more opinions, team’s trust, time to do more value-added contribution

Now that we understand WHY and WHAT of Delegation, time to look at HOW SHOULD I DELEGATE?

  1. Understand your Team’s competence, attitude and strengths – Once you know your team well, you know who can do what and how much can you risk

  2. ASK before Delegate – Many times we end up delegating, but team member is reluctant. Meaning, lower level of conviction and commitment and you can be rest assured of lower than expected results

  3. Help and Guide – Invest time in guiding team constantly, whenever they need you

  4. Appreciate – Do not miss an opportunity to put on records that your guy has done something more than what was initially expected

  5. Critical Feedback – If you don’t give a critical feedback to your guys, they won’t improve and climb the next steps. It will be a lose-lose situation for both sides

Well, after all introspection, I find my self to be in a position where I am learning the delegate. However, realization is that “DELEGATION is a TACTFUL ART”

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