Delegating is an essential skill for entrepreneurs and managers. It involves a shift in working with an individual to establish goals, giving them substantial rights and accountability to make decisions and achieve goals.
Delegation happens when a manager allows his assistant to take the initiative to get work done in his absence. If an entrepreneur wants to create a successful business, he/ she must know how much authority should be delegated. The minimum level of delegation of authority to get work done should be to enable the staff to take initiatives and to continue taking care of the daily business in the absence of the manager or entrepreneur.
Not all staff is eligible for work delegation. For instance, you just can’t stand up one day and tell your subordinate to run the show in your absence.
The person to whom you delegate work should be a key member of your organization, a self-driven, strong-willed, individual who can plan, direct and co-ordinate with others for work in your absence.
Delegation of work is a big responsibility; hence the person who is being given the opportunity should be responsible and accountable for the work done. It is best to spell out work responsibilities during the delegation phase. If your business has different departments, each should be coordinated to accommodate the change.
While delegating it is important that you keep control over things at the macro level. Strike a balance between your desire to control things and the manager’s working style. Avoid stifling your staff or losing control over things. When you delegate, you hold the subordinate accountable for his/ her and for other’s actions as well.
If work has been delegated to you, make sure that your manager gives you feedback at regular intervals – daily, weekly, or monthly. Delegation does not only mean control, rather it involves coaching and teaching others the ability to manage work as well as people. For a manager to delegate work, it is crucial to have good communication skills. Lack of communication skills could produce disastrous results for the business.
As a manager who delegates work, it is essential that you keep your mind open about your staff. If any of your staff falls short of your expectations, by being irresponsible in running the show, replace that person. On the other hand, if any of them does a good job, praise, motivate, and increase the self confidence of that person. In short, delegation requires you to:
- Know what you want
- Express what you want in lucid language
- Set expectations
- Trust the person whom you choose to delegate work to
- Give the person the flexibility to do things his/ her way
- Communicate and follow-up
To make delegation of work successful, managers must be given the freedom to do things their way. If you do not stand back and let them work, you will stifle them. Measure the success by the results and the methods through which they were achieved. Just as all five fingers aren’t same, no two people will think or react in the same manner in a situation. Each person brings with him/ her a different working and thinking style. It is important that their style of working and thinking blends with the company’s policy.
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