“The surest way for an executive to kill himself is to refuse to learn how, and when, and to whom to delegate work.”
– James Cash Penney, founder of the J.C. Penney retail chain.
Delegation is extremely hard to do, especially when you’ve been running the show on your own for a long time. However, as much as delegation can take you outside your comfort zone, it is also essential to growing your organization. You absolutely need someone to take care of details while you scan the horizon, study the sector and decide on your organization’s future direction. Here are some ways to start delegating successfully.
The objective is to get the job done, not create a masterpiece. Establish quality standards and fair deadlines. Once the expectations are set down, let your staff decide how to do their jobs.
Make sure everyone has all the information they need to complete the job. A transparent organization will be much more effective.
Your employees are almost guaranteed to do things differently from the way you would. This is a good thing! Everyone has different strengths and perspectives. Teams which capitalize on these differences have been proven to achieve much better outcomes.
So long as the expectations are clear, your employees can decide the best way they can achieve those expectations.
Delegating means creating opportunities for your employees to stretch their skills and judgement, and to play to their individual strengths. Learning can never happen without mistakes. Acknowledge the mistake and give the employee the space to make it right.
When you outline your expectations at the start, build in some natural checkpoints for follow-up, to make sure your employees have understood the objectives, can react to changes which have come up, and continue to have the resources they need to do the job.
If someone else has accomplished something, make sure they get credit for their contributions.
When you delegate effectively, your to-do list will get smaller, the abilities and motivation of your staff will increase, and you will have more time to think and plan about big-picture issues. What’s not to like?
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