I remember when I was given an opportunity to hold a position as Marketing Specialist at a fortune 500 company at the age of 21. It was the right place and right time because it was what was in Allah’s plan for me. I thought that I would just be given a manual and a list of things to do. I had no idea that i was going to need planning, organization, time management, and delegation skills to perform my job function. I was ready o make more money for sure but i was not up for the added responsibilities. I was making a pretty decent amount of money as an intern but now i had the chance to be a salaried employee and part of management.
The day of the interview I had to first take an exam. The results of the exam would determine if I was a good fit for the position. I did very well overall except for one section, DELEGATION! The questions were not hard at all, so it seemed. There were situation questions and I was sure I got them right. The manager who was going to interview me told me that I answered every question like a was a one-woman-show! I smiled and politely said that I would rather just do what was expected of me and not dump it on anyone else. She replied with, “young lady you will not get very far with that attitude but I do understand you”! She said it was not dumping but it was called leveraging. She said it was the art of getting things done in a smarter, not harder way So that was my first lesson in leveraging.
A couple of months later I had became supervisor over two telemarketers.I realized that delegation might have been the key to getting the job done smarter and not harder but no one was doing it fast enough or the way i needed it to get done!We had two weeks to run this telemarketing initiative and results were expected to be outstanding. I left my two employees alone thinking that because they were adults they could handle what they needed to handle and I should not give them anymore work than that. The short version of this story is that I ended up making most of the calls because they were not following the script and they were falling behind in the daily quota for making calls.
I was reprimanded for this when my boss saw me making the calls. He said, “I am not upset that you are making the calls but I am upset that you did not delegate this task appropriately,therefore you are making calls and are taking away valuable time that could be used for managing your portion of the business plan”! I just looked at him like he had five heads because I knew that a week prior to that I had just heard him say that we should do whatever we need to do to make sure that every last customer was called on the list.” I was only trying to get the list completed, i thought to myself. This cost me highly because I also had charts and a presentation to do for the business plan and I did not finish in time so I had to ask my co-workers to help me and they were already swarmed with what they had to complete. They all chipped in and helped and I was able to complete my portion of the business plan on time.
The point I make here is that when you think you are not being fair in your business by giving tasks to others to complete , remember that no one rises to the top ALONE!!! The people who you reach out to, for support in reaching your goals, are there to help you so just let them help. It can free up a lot of space for you to do what you need to do most of. You are not dumping on anyone you are simply delegating.
Many managers never receive delegation, especially in small business, simply because they don’t put it into their budget or plan. They often end up failing because of it. The inexperienced managers do just as I did or they actually think they are delegating when they dump unwanted tasks on their employees. Their are proven systems of how one can effectively delegate but here are some reasons why some just do not opt to do it the right way:
1.They think it is better to just do it all by themselves so they only have themselves to blame if it does not get done right.
2.They think that it takes less time to do the work themselves.
3.They don’t believe that that anyone is as motivated and trustworthy as them and will probably and the result will probably be a half-done job.
4.They actually are content and at peace with doing all the work themselves.
5.They feel guilty, like they are dumping work on people who already have so much work to do.
I was often guilty of the first two on the list and paid a high price! It took me a couple of years to wean myself away from the attitude that I rather just do it. It took a lot of trial and error but that is how I learned all about leveraging instead of dumping.
Take a look below for some ways to effectively delegate in your biz!
1. What exactly do I need/want to accomplish?(clearly define the project or task)
2. Ask yourself “who would be best person(s) to complete this task or project?” (are they skilled/knowledgeable enough to complete it)
3. Select the person(s) who you believe have the ability to complete the task(s).
4. Consult with your team about 2. and 3. Clearly define and explain what needs to be done, get feedback on what is needed to complete the task/project, decide how long it should take to complete it, decide when and how you will meet to discuss progress
5. Accountability( decide what you need to see in order to know if progress is being made )
6. Authority levels for each person need to be clear to the team and training should be provided, if necessary.
7. Review (this step should be done during the the life of the project or task and finally it’s completion)
8. Provide feedback-coaching and positive reinforcement(this step should be done along with step 7 periodically and there is a science to doing this effectively as well)
9). Evaluate and extract the lessons learned(examine where things went wrong and how they were fixed, realize what may have been done to prevent the problem(s) etc…)
Remember delegation is working smarter not harder and it is far from “dumping” if done right! It can be most effective if you use the 8 tips above. Try it for a small project and come back to share your results!