Why delegation is the key to productivity
It is not easy to trust others to do what we want done perfectly, especially when the “if I want it done right, I have to do it myself” syndrome kicks in. But will this thinking actually benefit us entrepreneurs and business owners in the long run, when we plan to build branches or a multinational empire?
Top managers and business owners know very well that the key to handling numerous branches, different departments and projects is through delegation. Employers are able to maximize their available human resources, while at the same time develop and equip their employees with new knowledge that management can again utilize for higher purposes.
But wise managers do not simply make orders fly off their tables because they know that delegation often comes with a “handle with care” sign. Here are some tips to delegate effectively:
Select the best person suited for the task. The HR department probably knows that some of your employees have their own unique and unused skills. You might eventually discover a lot of potential in every one of them. In the case of new employees, delegating tasks, even the simplest ones, can actually boost their self-esteem and performance. This is good in the long run since they would be able to have a great start in the company.
Explain clearly and check if you are understood. You know what your instructions mean and how the result should look like, but you cannot be sure whether or not your staff has the same idea unless you ask them to explain to you what they have understood from your instructions. Ask your staff to repeat what you have explained to them and what they wish to comment before performing the task. Put yourself on the same page. Make sure that your instructions are clear and easy to understand. If it involves complex commands or is longer than your average shopping list, put it into writing so that your staff can refer to your original written instructions rather than trying to recall what you have said.
Always set deadlines. Deadlines imply a sense of urgency and importance to the delegated tasks. Remember that in setting deadlines, take into account time to evaluate what they will accomplish and time to repair errors. Setting the deadline up to the final moment, when results are already needed, would lead to a do-or-die situation wherein whatever the staff completes, regardless of the quality, will be used.
Monitor their performance and evaluate the results. Do not wait for your staff to finish. Check on their progress so that errors can be corrected immediately before the damage is irreversible. In the case of your most professional staff, do not think that you do not need to monitor their progress just because they usually perform well in the office. It only means less supervision.
Give feedback and advice. Your goal in delegating should not only be to lighten your workload, but also to impart a lot of learning experiences. Comment on their performance and share thoughts on how you think they can improve so that they can grow professionally. As they progress and learn more things, they will soon be able to handle a lot more difficult jobs, know more problem-solving techniques, and even possibly develop new approaches in your system that will enhance business operations. Keep the evaluation a two-way street and let your employees evaluate themselves as well.
*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. C-6, Sunday, May 4, 2014. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.