Karen Austin, HR Consultant
So let’s take each one of the excuses we hear on a regular basis in turn:
1. "...but I like doing it!" - Consider how fabulous an opportunity it might be for someone else. Delegating would share the satisfaction – many people think first of delegating the boring things! Perhaps alternate who does it, get a rota going and share the love!
2. "...but I don't have the time" – I sympathise with this one. When handing over will take so long you might as well keep it. Investing a few hours to train someone else, if you do it correctly, will pay dividends.
3. "...but it needs to be done in a certain way" – does it really? Why not allow someone to put their stamp on it? Little bits of innovation sprinkled around keep an organisation fresh and when innovation is encouraged it spreads.
4. "...but I don’t trust anyone else to do it" - This may be a symptom of a bigger issue either with the staff that you manage or I hate to say it, with you. If you have done everything else right and the issue is with the capability of those around you then either it is the wrong task to delegate or you need to do something to address the capability issues.
5. "...but it is important for me to muck in". Again, consider whether you are delegating the right things and in the right way. Is it delegation or dumping? We’ve all had something dumped on us after the fun part is done. Delegate the exciting bits too and, as long as you are otherwise visible and communicate regularly, staff will know that you do ‘muck in’ while appreciating that you need to add value in other ways.
Perhaps you don’t feel there is a need for you to delegate, maybe you feel your bulging to do list is manageable, but think twice before you reach this conclusion. Consider a different perspective. What new things you could take on if you delegated and made space, things that only you could do, to grow the organisation?
Delegate when someone else:
- Is already skilled to do the job instead of you
- Can do the job better than you
- Can do the job at less cost than you
- Would truly benefit from the development and training that the task would offer
Always plan delegation, define the task, support the other person and review their progress. Pass on the responsibility but never the accountability.