To Delegate or not to Delegate—That Is the Question

Some people feel the need to totally control everything related to their job. This attitude, of course, leaves no room for delegation and is a proven formula for overloading, stress and job burnout.

Others confuse delegation with passing the buck. They are good at letting go of responsibility, skipping out on work and forcing others to take care of things. These people often bark orders at everyone, let go and hope for the best. That’s not true delegation or management; it is irresponsible and incompetent behavior.

Mastering delegation is easier said than done. You can read about it for years, talk about it for years…but you are only going to get good at it when you start doing it.

Use This Checklist of Key Delegation Steps

  • When you delegate a task or project, be sure to communicate clearly. Don’t assume that everything is understood and don’t take anything for granted. In most of my seminars, the participants cite lack of communications as one of the top ten time problems experienced. Misunderstandings can waste both time and money.
  • Don’t rush through an explanation. Be patient, provide details, speak slowly and encourage questions.
  • Provide your team the following information:
  • The exact date that the employees are to assume the new responsibilities and the duration of the assignment.
  • The purpose of the delegated task and how it relates to the organization’s goals.
  • A detailed explanation of how the task is currently being done.  A comment to the effect that you welcome any suggestions as to how the method can be improved.
  • An explanation of the various resources and sources of information available to the employees should they encounter problems.  A summary of the types of problems encountered in the past and how they were handled.  An explanation of any unusual circumstances or problem areas that might arise in the future.
  • The limits of their authority. Which types of decisions they can make and which ones have to go to a higher authority.
  • Any new reporting relationships and lines of communication involved in the new assignment.
  • The type and frequency of feedback you expect.

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