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How to master delegation and stop doing everything yourself

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21.06.2023
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The head of the company, the manager of any department, and each of us faces a situation when there is a catastrophic lack of time. All processes begin to suffer, work efficiency drops dramatically, and chaos ensues. The longer it lasts, the harder it is to put everything in place and establish efficiency. At the same time, the presence of subordinates does not mean that they will perform the assigned tasks as quickly and efficiently as possible. The same staff, under the management of different people, can either be lazy or work inspired.

Without the ability to delegate authority correctly, a department or company can fall behind, even if you have assembled a team of the best specialists. But this skill can be developed.

We decided to take a closer look at what delegation is and how to get the most out of it.

So read in the article:

What is delegation and how does it differ from mandate

Delegation is transferring to another person a part of the work that needs to be done to achieve certain goals.

If, for example, you need to organize an IT infrastructure for your business, you can rent a server yourself, configure it, install the necessary software and manage it yourself. It is cost-effective if you have a small budget or you have the experience and time to do it. But if you need to do everything quickly and professionally, you can delegate this direction to a freelancer or hire an employee on a permanent basis. In this way, you buy time and resources for money that can be spent on other things.

Delegation occurs not only in business, but also in everyday life. We delegate when we hire a cleaner or a cook, a babysitter or a gardener.

As you can see, this is a rather broad concept, but today we will talk more about delegation within the company and understand what the transfer of authority from a manager to a subordinate is, because it is this aspect that causes the greatest difficulties for managers of various levels.

Therefore, the delegation of duties means that the employee receives under his responsibility a certain direction of work with a set of tasks, rights, duties and resources. Let's explain this sentence in more detail:

  1. Along with the powers, the employee gets some freedom and the right to make decisions at the local level.

  2. Delegation assumes that the subordinate partially controls his own work - makes plans, monitors the performance of the tasks of the contractors with whom he works, can form a budget for agreement with the management and voice the needs.

  3. Control over the quality of the final result still rests with the manager - he must monitor the work at intermediate stages, follow the planning, help, ask questions and monitor the effectiveness of the results.

It is important to pay attention to how delegation of authority differs from delegation.

For example, a manager has decided that starting today one of the team members will instead coordinate colleagues who are planning to hold a meeting in the conference room. His new responsibilities will include receiving and recording requests, scheduling meetings, and sending reminders about the time of the appointed meeting. It can also be control over the state of the hall itself — purchasing water, organizing cleaning, etc. This is delegation.

In fact, a person who has been given a mandate does not have significant freedom of action in making decisions, but only a clear instruction. For example, if the manager asked to call the partners and arrange a meeting for tomorrow, this is already an assignment.

Delegation of authority

So it can be concluded that delegation differs from delegation not only in terms of responsibility, but also in terms of the scale of tasks and duration.

Now that we've got these two processes out of the way, think about whether you're really delegating, or is it more like a series of errands? If the second option is the case, you will spend a lot of time setting small tasks and monitoring their execution.

Why not all managers know how to delegate correctly

You can manage a team in many different ways. Someone pulls everything on themselves, for another, chaos reigns in the processes and burning deadlines, the third implements total control. And only a competent manager knows how to organize the process in such a way that everyone clearly fulfills their tasks in the appointed time, and he himself does not complete tasks for employees.

Reasons that prevent people from delegating competently:

  1. Inability to set the problem correctly. If you've ever tried to explain to a person what you want, you know how difficult it is to communicate with performers. This is a separate science that requires the talent to set a task clearly, without misunderstandings, in as much detail as possible, but at the same time with a certain freedom of action.

  2. Sufficient work experience, but no management skills. It often happens that a good employee who knows the processes well gets the position of manager. But this does not mean that he will be able to convey his knowledge and experience to other people and coordinate them correctly. To do this, you need to study additionally, so improving the manager's qualifications with the help of courses and relevant literature is mandatory.

  3. Fear of pointing out mistakes and demanding a quality result. Of course, it will be unpleasant for the employee when the results of his efforts begin to be analyzed for mistakes, to demand that something be redone. Then it seems that it is better to accept the work as it is and then "finish it" yourself, than to offend a person. But this way you can get bogged down in overwork, and employees will get used to the fact that this level of task performance is acceptable, so they will not try.

  4. Perfectionism, the desire to be irreplaceable or to be in the center of attention and other psychological effects that force a person to tie processes to himself.

  5. Disorganization. High-quality processes are always a painstaking organization of many employees. Not everyone knows how to organize even themselves, but managing a whole team of people with different personalities and skills is a whole science.

Each of the problems must be solved separately, but the main thing to understand is that delegation and management is not a talent that is born with, but a skill that needs to be developed. A good leader must constantly learn and improve.

Delegation in management: what is possible and what is not worth it

Delegation of duties is inextricably linked with granting the employee additional rights — from now on, he can ask questions or tasks to other colleagues, use additional company resources.

In order to avoid unwanted misunderstandings, you should warn other colleagues about what new functions a specific person will perform, so that he can easily collect the necessary data, receive information, coordinate processes and at the same time not face resistance from the team.

It should also be remembered that responsibilities can only be delegated to direct subordinates. Preserving the hierarchy will help maintain a healthy working atmosphere in the company, as well as avoid situations of devaluation of managers in the eyes of their subordinates.

Do not allow the delegation of tasks, the performance of which violates the employee's rights, his job description, or does not correspond to his competence. Take into account the deadlines for the work, leave "backlash" for your own peace of mind. Set the task clearly and make sure that you are understood correctly.

Delegation of duties

Also consider the point that you need to delegate responsibilities earlier, before you are already lost in the chaos of affairs. If there is already a catastrophic lack of time, then you will not have time to manage a new employee either. Monitor your condition, rest on time and stay "in resource" - only then you will be able to pay attention to the training of subordinates.

If part of the authority is transferred to a specialist who is already in the staff, this should be supported by a salary increase, because the workload increases. Delegation can also be carried out with the help of new specialists or outsourced.

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Delegation of authority and responsibility

Let's not forget that when delegating powers, the manager continues to be responsible for the performance of this task. If the task is not completed, it was poorly managed. Therefore, he must monitor the implementation process, support, if necessary, help and motivate the employee who received these powers.

And with a positive final result, it is imperative to praise or otherwise reward him, regardless of how much time and effort he personally had to spend to teach and bring things up to speed. This will stimulate further effective work of the subordinate in the performance of similar tasks and will strengthen his confidence in his own abilities. But do not try to do the work instead of him, despite the fact that it may seem to you that no one can do it better than you.

Try to invest as much effort as possible in the newbie at the beginning, so that he becomes an active and competent member of the team as soon as possible, while you later deal with the performance of more important responsibilities. Various sources write that the direct manager spends about 20% of his working time on the training and management of each new employee. As the number of new employees increases, so does the amount of time spent supporting them. Therefore, the manager must develop an extensive management system, where employees will be subordinate to line managers. This will significantly save time and free up resources. It is not necessary to tie all the processes on yourself - you can even delegate management functions.

Follow these simple recommendations to monitor the performance of assigned tasks:

  1. Ensure detailed planning and clear reporting.

  2. Create a weekly task plan, with a discussion at the beginning of each week and a report at the end.

  3. Take control at every stage and step in immediately when help is needed.

  4. Ask the opinion of the subordinate more often to stimulate his responsibility in decision-making.

  5. Choose the type of control correctly, because not all employees and not all situations are suitable for a directive approach.

  6. Be wise and don't push, find a balance between praise and criticism.

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Perfectionism and delegation, or "no one will do better than me"

Perhaps one of the most difficult tasks for a perfectionist is to delegate responsibilities to someone, because "no one will do it like him." Perfectionists often suffer from a lack of time, because they pile on themselves a mountain of tasks that must be completed quickly, qualitatively and under strict control. The desire to do everything perfectly plays a bad joke with such people - deadlines "burn", the quality of work decreases, the brain "boils", and the pendulum of health begins to swing in the wrong direction.

Trying to control everything and everyone so that the implementation of plans is carried out as best as possible leads to resistance from the team, because not everyone can work in conditions of total reporting. And the desire to do everything yourself ends in overwork and burnout.

Trust your subordinates, give more freedom, stimulate initiative - create a warm atmosphere, and the productivity of colleagues will increase significantly.

Perfectionism is often encouraged through the media, social networks, corporate ethics — a person loses the right to be imperfect and is under constant stress due to self-criticism.

So the concepts of "perfectionism" and "effective delegation" are incompatible. To manage time and tasks, you need to let go of the ideal and just do your job well enough. Quality standards must be reasonably justified and rationally supported by figures.

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The modern manager has many specific and versatile responsibilities, and his time reserves are very limited. In addition, despite all the desire to constantly learn and expand competences, it is impossible to know and be able to do everything. Therefore, delegation of authority is an important task of every manager. The effective division of duties between the company's employees allows to increase economic indicators and productivity, reduce the level of stress, improve the general atmosphere in the team, free up resources for further growth and development of the company. Formation of a position of trust between the manager and subordinates, granting of powers and expanding rights for decision-making, establishment of transparent principles of assessment and control opens opportunities for personal growth of each employee and the company in general.


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Author: Bohdana Haivoronska

Journalist (since 2003), IT copywriter (since 2013), content marketer at Cityhost.ua. Specializes in articles about technology, creation and promotion of sites.