Success becomes limited if you try to do it all.
It’s common to think delegation is more of a hassle than its worth. Naturally, your way is the right way! It’s also fair to say sometimes you need to micromanage a highly visible project. But excessive and continual micromanagement is a waste of time and the sign of either poor management skills or underperforming staff.
Micromanagers usually look for affirmation on why they shouldn’t delegate. They may set people up to fail by assigning a task and waiting to the very end to pick holes in the work. The person doing the task feels they can’t live up to the manager’s expectations, while the manager has confirmed it’s necessary to intervene constantly to ensure the job gets done properly.
Micromanagement is unhealthy. It increases stress and feelings of not being able to cope. It’s also a huge frustration to staff which undermines their capability and destroys their confidence.
Learning to delegate isn’t easy because it opens up issues around trust and control. But if you don’t learn, you ain’t going to get far fast. Delegating effectively requires a balance. Your co-worker might take a little longer on a task you could do with your eyes shut, but be patient and give the right support. Don’t abdicate control totally, but allow people to make their own decisions and live with the consequences. This will allow them to grow and improve.
If you think you have a problem with micromanagement and don’t know how to stop, ask yourself:
• Is this a recurring task?
• Can someone else carry this out?
• How critical is this to the business?
• What impact would this have on the business if not done properly?
• Do I have enough time to delegate the job effectively?
Once you have done that:
• Choose the right tasks to delegate to the right people
• Match the responsibility with the right amount of authority for the job
• Let go of the details and concentrate on the required outcome
• Articulate the desired outcome, beginning with the end result
• Allow your staff to focus on getting to the end result by their own methods
• Involve people in the delegation process and empower them
• Outline a reporting process so they can keep you abreast of results
• Most importantly, remember to arrange your workload so you work on tasks that are critical and have the highest priority.
Delegating is part of the process of developing your staff and is essential for them personally and professionally. It’s also the way you as a manager create reliability and loyalty, because people feel empowered and are willing to accept responsibility. And it’s also how you, as a manager, free yourself to do more strategic things which can add value to the business.
So, cast off your preconceptions about delegation! With a fresh perspective, you can do a far better job and hopefully feel a lot less stressed. You’ll gain a better use of your time and skills, see an increase in capability, productivity and loyalty, and gain more time to concentrate on important things.
This article originally appeared in NETT Magazine October 2008