Do yourself a Davor and Delegate

Published in July 2019.

Feature Insight

Do yourself a favor and delegate. Your team will thank you. 

When you delegate, you give the people on your team the opportunity to develop new skills, you increase your team’s productivity, and you get the needed time to focus on some of the more important supervisor issues on your plate. 

For busy managers at the University, delegating sounds like a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it would be great to pass along some of your work and give your employees the opportunity to grow their skills. On the other hand, it’s quicker to do it yourself, and you don’t want to burden your already busy team members, right? 

The truth is, thoughtful delegation is a win for you, your employees, and the University. Here are five keys to successful delegation.

Delegate most, but not all. Think of all of the things occupying your time. Seriously consider delegating a task unless it:

  • Relates to your supervisory responsibilities (e.g., performance management, hiring decisions)
  • Involves confidential information
  • Is time sensitive and requires deep and unique experience and expertise that an employee doesn’t have

Ensure a smooth hand-off. An employee cannot successfully take on an assignment without a clear understanding of the context, scope, level of autonomy, and expectations of the work. Schedule time to go over the details of the assignment and answer questions.

Delegating does not mean directing, nor is it letting go. After you’ve delegated the task you are still essential to its success, but your role has changed. Allow the employee to complete the task with autonomy, but also make a plan to check in on progress and offer feedback and support. 

Make room for error. When things go awry it can be tempting to step in, fix the problem and take back control. But take these opportunities to flex your coaching muscle and give your employees the chance to learn and grow. Ask questions to understand the issue and emphasize the skills they can use to move forward.

Challenge your idea of leadership. Make no mistake, there are times when a leader needs to roll up their sleeves and get directly involved to get the job done, but that shouldn’t be the norm. Being a good leader doesn’t mean doing all of the work or saving the day by fixing the problem. Instead it means activating those around you to accomplish work and achieve great things. 

Even if you’re already delegating work, challenge yourself to find even more tasks to delegate so you can focus on the core functions of a manager, such as engagement, and your employees have the opportunity to develop their skills.

LTD consultants have expertise in leadership development, engagement, and supervisory development. If you have questions about employee engagement, send us an email. We’ll do our best to respond and may even feature it in the next newsletter.  

I am younger than most of the employees I supervise and often have issues with delegating tasks to veteran team members because they are resistant to change. Any advice?

This is a common issue at the University and there are some things you can do to address this.

  1. Take the time to describe to your team why the task or the change matters, how it supports your unit/department’s priorities, and how they fit into it. 
  2. Give your team the opportunity to provide input. 
  3. Get your own supervisor onboard with the change.
  4. Persist and don’t give up. 

You can find more answers to common questions about delegating in the Q&A portion of the Delegating to Achieve and Empower webinar

Never miss a webinar again. 

All of the Supervisory Development webinars are posted on one convenient web page so you can watch or listen to them any time. You can also download the resources that accompany each webinar to support your learning. 

Make sure to register for the recorded version and report your own completion in the Training Hub.