Unleashing potential through delegation
March 31, 2017
By Lori Stewart, SPHR®, SHRM-SCP, HCS, Partner, Human Resources Consulting
If you’re taking everything and carrying it on your own shoulders instead of using good delegation skills, there is a very real possibility you are depriving your team members the opportunity to unleash their own potential. There is no reason for you to think you have to do it all. Learning a new skill is always difficult at first, but with a few clear-cut guidelines and practice, you will eventually consider delegation as an essential part of your routine. Your team members will benefit (and appreciate), realizing their individual potential as well.
When team members feel valued, there is a direct correlation to increased employee engagement, higher job satisfaction and a great work experience. Therefore, the effort you put forth in mastering this skill will invigorate you and your team. You can be a great contributor in helping your staff to come into work each day and dig in with passion and purpose. That is the end result of effective delegation.
When considering how and when you will delegate, it is important for you to create a structure that allows the employee to be supported through their learning process and also holds them accountable to the goal and quality of work.
What to Delegate
When determining what to delegate, consider the risks and rewards of delegating along with the timeframe for completing the project. Ensure that the project is a good use of your team member’s time and skill. It is vitally important that you spend the appropriate time in training and have established the team member fully understands and appreciates the scope of the project, but also has the knowledge and tools to successfully take to completion.
When to Delegate
Below are questions you can ask to determine the potential of success.
- Development – Does this task unleash potential in the employee and create a development opportunity?
- Competence – Do they have the skillset to successfully complete the project?
- Motivation – Are they willing to do it?
- Readiness – Is the employee confident in their skill sets? If not, what would it take for them to be?
- Availability – Does the employee’s workload allow time for this? If not, could other priorities be delegated to provide a development opportunity for another staff person?
Roadblocks to Delegating
Creating an environment where staff can learn and make mistakes without the risk of impacting the end goal will eliminate many of the roadblocks to delegation. Below are areas to keep in mind when developing a structure and environment for successful delegation.
- Listening: Research states that our beliefs influence other people’s behavior. Therefore, as leaders, we must believe in our staff to perform to established expectations and provide the appropriate conditions for staff to succeed. We can influence their behavior to achieve results that they themselves did not see possible. By listening to their concerns and needs, we will help them achieve success.
- Expectations: Setting clear expectations of the outcome, time frame, authority to complete the task and check-in process along the way will provide support and structure for a successful development opportunity.
- Accountability: You can delegate a project, but you cannot delegate accountability. Having clear expectations and holding the individual accountable to their work is key to this process. In the end, as a leader, you are still responsible.
- Results: Focus on the results and not how they got to the results. Everyone has their own individual style.
Learning any new skill can be difficult, but, practice makes perfect. Delegating tasks in alignment with your personal and organizational goals will allow for your individual, team and company’s growth.
This article was previously published in the Business Times.