Too Much To Do? Delegate.

Excellent supervisors delegate. Bill Marriott Sr., chairman and CEO of Marriott International, said, “Don’t do anything someone else can do for you.” The goals of delegating are to:

  1. Give an employee a task she can do, or can learn to do, so you can accomplish other, more pressing goals.
  2. Develop your employees’ skills.
  3. Accomplish better and faster results.

 Unfortunately, many leaders fail to delegate for a variety of reasons. Perhaps these people:

  • Lack confidence in their employees’ abilities
  • Lack the time to explain a task or train an employee in the task
  • Take personal pride in doing a task themselves
  • Are competent in a task and want it to be done right
  • Have a fear of letting go of a task
  • Don’t know how to delegate

How to Delegate

Meet with the employee one-on-one and follow these steps:

  1. Outline clear expectations, goals, and reasons for delegating the task.
  2. Set timelines for milestones and for completion.
  3. Answer any questions and address any concerns.
  4. Reassure the employee that he or she can do it. Give needed tools, support, or training.
  5. Follow up to check on progress.

Remember, a supervisor’s success depends on the employees’ success. As a general rule, delegate to more experienced employees. Learn to delegate tasks that matter to the organization but are hard for you to do because of other priorities.

In addition, it is a great habit to periodically ask, “What am I doing right now that is really someone else’s job? What am I doing now that someone else could do if he were trained and coached?” These questions will help to ensure that you’re not slipping back into the role of an individual contributor or competing with your employees in the fulfillment of their jobs.

This is based on the book Becoming a Successful Supervisor. 

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