Delegate! For yourself and your teams

Gone are the days when delegation was simply a matter of bosses handing off undesirable tasks to employees. The increasingly collaborative nature of work in tandem with evolving digital technologies has made its impact on this core management skill, changing how you delegate, how often, what form it takes, and how effective it is. Excerpt from the latest issue of Business Digest:

Exchange of thoughts during a business brainstorming by cheerful

1. Why should you delegate?
According to calculations, leaders of SMEs in the UK could gain enough time to grow their businesses by an average of 20% by successfully delegating just 10% of their current workloads, thereby creating an additional £300 billion per annum for the UK economy. Meanwhile, there are risks to not delegating, which include, but are not limited to, restricting your own skills development and experience as a leader, burnout, and alienating your team members by limiting their empowerment.

2. What’s stopping you?
Most business leaders refer to themselves as “control freaks” and describe this as their biggest barrier to delegating. “Being a control freak means one thing: you do not or cannot trust anyone else to do it for you,” writes Gail Thomas. According to her research, however, lack of time — to identify the right person and then train him or her to execute the task in a way that meets requisite timescales and standards — is also at the heart of the problem for most leaders, even if they don’t say it.

3. Become a skilled delegator
Your most crucial role as delegator is to understand the big picture of what you and all of your team members are collectively working towards and how each of you fits into that picture. By freeing you from the nitty-gritty of the work itself, so you can take a step back, delegation both facilitates and is facilitated a big-picture view. “The shift from a ‘do’ to a ‘get done’ mentality is a big one and an essential part of becoming a delegator,” writes Thomas. “Reverting to a ‘doing’ frame of mind means that one sinks into the detail of sweating the small stuff, head down, hard at work. Being responsible for getting things done is different: it means facilitating others to do the work.”

The BaxterStorey example
Simon Esner explains how delegation enables him to unleash the collective performance of his business development unit at BaxterStorey, one of the UK’s leading catering services providers. According to him, delegation begins and ends with trust — but not blind trust…

Based on The gift of time: How delegation can give you space to succeed by Gail Thomas (Capstone, March 2015), “How Office Control Freaks Can Learn to Let Go” by Elizabeth Grace Saunders (HBR, October 2013), “Signs That You’re a Micromanager” by Muriet Maignan Wilkins (HBR, November 2014) and the Interview with Simon Esner, Director, BaxterStorey (United Kingdom), June 2015.

Watch the video:

Delegation

As delegator, you need to ensure a clear understanding between you and your delegatees of both of your needs and expectations as well as the right process and deliverables.