Terry Corbell, The Biz Coach
By Terry Corbell
Business Consultant

HR Management – 8 Best Practices in Employee Delegation


Avoid frustration in delegation. Save yourself time and develop your staff for the welfare of your organization.


Delegation is a fundamental driver of organizational growth. Managers who are effective in delegation show leadership.

They know they’ll be more effective in management and that they’ll develop their employees.

They inspire employees with competence and dedication via delegation. They motivate in such a way that employees accept the responsibility, and perform their duties with authority and efficiency.

Unfortunately, many managers don’t understand the benefits of delegating or they don’t delegate effectively.

Bosses are missing the benefits of not delegating properly.

Their work pressures are alleviated and they’re not bogged down in minutiae.

They have time for the big picture and for honing their managerial skills.

Not to belabor a point, but this means the organization will benefit, too.

Good employees welcome and benefit from the challenge of increased responsibilities.

Their motivation and workplace engagement are enhanced. And they appreciate opportunities to grow.

Understanding why managers procrastinate on delegating

An organization that has managers who fail to delegate is an indicator of workplace culture dysfunction.

Harried managers think they can perform tasks better and faster. Usually this means they lack confidence in their employees, and ironically they suffer from self-esteem issues themselves.

Typically, such a manager claims it will take too long to train employees to perform a new task. Perhaps that’s true to a certain degree. But a good manager is mindful of short term and long term benefits from developing the staff.

Procrastinating managers are fearful. By keeping their employees from developing, such managers believe they’ll keep their authority and job. But good managers know productive employees will be more satisfied in their work and will push them up the ladder.

Good employees welcome and benefit from the challenge of increased responsibilities. Their motivation and workplace engagement are enhanced. And they appreciate opportunities to grow.

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

1. Analyze everything on your plate. Reflect on ways to clear the table. Track your time on what’s productive and what isn’t. Prioritize.

2. Prepare to document everything for a paper trail. You need a clear picture with documentation in your planning to delegate.

3. Identify the project. Prioritize objectives and a timeline. Determine what resources will be needed to achieve success.

4. Determine who is qualified to perform the task. Assign the right person or team for high performance and to enable you to track and oversee the delegated work. A key element is to insure there’s trust with your employee – good communication – listening and hearing.

Employ the acronym, SMARTER –

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Agreed
  • Realistic
  • Timely
  • Ethical
  • Recorded

5. Meet with the employee and communicate the assignment. Discuss why it’s important, your expectations, freedom of latitude, and how the employee can make a difference. Be sure to discuss sensitive matters – policy, politics or protocol of confidentiality.

6. Don’t micromanage. Show support. Ask the employee for input on the task. Empower your employee to strategize and plan the approach. Schedule times to watch the work evolve and to meet with your employee to review progress. Coach the employee when necessary to prevent problems.

7. Communicate with your boss. It’s important to keep your supervisor in the loop.

8. Continuously communicate with the employee. Continue to ask open-ended questions to see to it that the employee is focused. Consider all options and possible returns on investment of the person’s time and efforts.

And when the project is completed, recognize your employee’s success and celebrate.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are editor’s picks for relevant management information:

Key Differences between Leaders and Managers — There seems to be some confusion in understanding the difference between true leadership and management — particularly, if a manager wants to aspire to leadership in management to enable an organization to become great. The salient distinction between leadership and management: It boils down to how professionals inspire their staffs and other stakeholders.

Profit Drivers – How and Why to Partner with Your Employees — If you want maximum profit, consider partnering with your employees. Here’s expert advice from leading financial consultant Roni Fischer.

18 Leadership Strategies to Earn Employee Respect — Eighteen strategies to profit from good labor relations, and to leverage the perspective of employees – your company’s human capital.

HR-Social Media Tips for Best Employee Morale, Culture — Social media affects your company’s culture – probably as much as the employees who engage in water cooler gossip. It’s true. Your company’s reputation is affected internally and externally by social-networking sites.

Probation Meetings – HR Tactics for New Employee Success — Hiring employees is expensive. So it’s important to use tactics that will help insure success of new workers. That calls for probation meetings. Here are five proven tactics.

“Never tell people how to do things; tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”

-George S. Patton


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 




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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.