Sharing the Load Leads to Success

We all have times when there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish what we need to do at work or at home.  If you frequently find yourself in this situation, you may be making a mistake that some supervisors make – thinking you are the only person who can complete the work.  The answer to your time management problem is to delegate whenever possible!  Good supervisors know they can’t do everything themselves and recognize there are many benefits to delegating tasks. It can help your staff (or family) develop new skills, creates a sense of teamwork, and frees up your time for things that only YOU can do. Follow these steps for effective delegation.

  • Pick the right person for the job.  Make sure the person is capable of doing the work but don’t always pick the same person.
  • Explain what you need done but resist telling the “delegatee” exactly how to do it.   Who knows, they may have a better way of accomplishing the task.  Of course, if there are good reasons why the work needs to be done your way, such as safety concerns, then you need to share this information.
  • Make sure the person has everything they need to get started.  Let the person work independently but let them know they can come to you with questions and concerns along the way.
  • Set mini deadlines so the worker can update you and you can help them address problems.  This also ensures you won’t get to the end of the project and find out there are big issues that can’t be solved at that point.
  • Give and ask for feedback at the end of the project.  This will give you an opportunity to share information which will help the person be even more successful next time, as well as help you improve your delegation skills too. Be sure and give the person who did the work full credit for accomplishing it.

Remember, effective delegation isn’t “dumping” work on someone that is your responsibility. Some tasks such as writing a performance evaluation or dealing with an employee discipline problem should not be handed over.   Supervisors are occasionally concerned that others will think less of them if they delegate a task and their employee completes it successfully.   This isn’t the case at all.  Everyone wins when the “delegatee” is successful.   The project is finished, the other person was given an opportunity to grow, and it proves you are a great supervisor and delegator.   I’d like to hear about any additional delegation tips you have to share from past experience.

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