The importance of effective delegating

New supervisors, experienced managers, entrepreneurs all like the idea of delegating tasks to people who can do it better, or have the availability to take on tasks. Clearing the manager’s schedule to do more strategic work, focus on building bridges and open doors are all crucial. And sometimes it just feels great to hand off a task or project to someone else, making mental and physical space for what should be next.

However, if reality is something like: “I have a great team, they just get stuff done.” The question becomes, what is their focus right now? And the response “Work comes to them through the pipeline and they just do it.” So, in other words you don’t really know what they are doing?

3 signs you have abdicated your managerial duties:

1.    Lack of clarity.

Quoting Alice in Wonderland – if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there. The business, department, and the Team member all need clarity of their role and objectives. In this regard – what we do is as important as what we do NOT do.

2.    You are not communicating expectations.

Supervisors of all levels often omit communicating expectations. Our expectations are so firmly established in our heads that we sometimes believe that it is common sense. For starters – there is nothing common about common sense. Clearly communicating what a successful outcome will look like helps the delegates to work towards success, and saves everyone a lot of time and money.

3.    A lack of visible engagement.

Once we hand off a task to a trusted employee, we may mentally and physically vacate. Sometimes to the point that we actually forget we handed off the task. This way we pass on responsibility, accountability and all the risk. We don’t follow up (interfere) because we have abdicated responsibility, justifying our inaction because we trust them and do not want to seem bossy, micromanaging, nagging, or maybe we simply couldn’t be bothered. That leaves the employee to fill in the blanks and assume we don’t care.

Sometimes it goes well. And sometimes not. And when it doesn’t, we wonder what went wrong?

Always ask: “If I didn’t get the expected outcome, how do I need to adjust my management style to course correct.”

Marderé Birkill, MBL, CEC, PCC

Executive Coach to upwardly mobile leaders.

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