How To Delegate Successfully

You should always be constantly looking out for staff who are able to take on the duties that you need to be freed from. It is tempting to just offload as much of your work as possible but this only creates more problems when things inevitably go wrong which in turn then burns up time and energy in corrective action.

The basic rule of Delegation is that you must always retain control over the situation but also empowering staff by allowing them to work effectively.

Key questions that need to be asked are:

  • How can I make better use of my time and expertise?
  • What tasks could be performed better and quicker by other staff?
  • What opportunities are there for staff to learn and develop by taking on delegated specific tasks and responsibilities?
  • How should increased responsibilities be implemented and who should be given these tasks?
  • What forms of monitoring and controls are needed in these situations?

Delegation is not a permanent act and can always be withdrawn. Staff must know exactly what is expected of them, what has to be achieved, the boundaries of freedom that they have been given and how far they can have independent decision-making.

The following six steps for effective delegation MUST always be followed:

  1. Set out clear objectives and patterns of organisation: define policies and procedures so that there is a framework where authority is clear and where responsibility can be accepted.
  2. Agree terms of reference and acceptance of authority and responsibility: identify and agree the role responsibilities to be delegated, areas of work and results to be expected. Put as much emphasis upon the end results expected rather than a detailed set of instructions as this will be of little value in terms of learning for the member of staff.
  3. Guidance, support, training and lines of communication: subordinates should be fully briefed, given guidance and support and any training needed to carry out the work. Sources of help and assistance if required should also be provided at this point.
  4. Effective monitoring and review procedures: agree time limits and target dates for completion of the task, the level of supervision and how progress will be monitored and reviewed.
  5. Freedom of action within agreed limits: being too close to the member of staff while they are carrying out the delegated tasks will be a frustrating situation and highly demotivating for that team member. The true nature of delegation is where the staff member is left alone to get on with the task and learn from the experience.
  6. Related reward system: this may be financial but is more likely to be built around improved job satisfaction, reduction of work stress and enhanced opportunities for promotion and self-advancement.

Good Luck!

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