Learn to Delegate to Survive as a Manager


We’ve all seen instances of a stew being promoted or hired as chief stew who simply does not have the experience needed to perform the job.

A stew may be really great at service and housekeeping and have a year of experience, so she is hired or promoted to a chief stew position. She tries hard to master the management and administration aspects of the job, but at the expense of the overall organization. She is having a hard time and is not very successful.

Sometimes problems of ineffectiveness have to do with an inability to cope, not with a lack of skill or interest or passion for the job.Often, people are simply promoted beyond their capacity.

Management is all about getting the job done through others. The greatest motivator of human performance is knowing exactly what is expected of you. The greatest demotivator is the reverse. You must be perfectly clear about what you want done, to what standards, and in what time frame.

One of the hardest things about management is learning to delegate properly. It seems like it would be easier to do everything yourself—in the time it would take to stop a project you’re working on while you show someone else how to perform his or her job, you could have done it yourself and completed your present project as well. And it would be done correctly, no less, since nobody can do it as well as you anyway.

It can be hard to figure out how to delegate properly, but it is an important skill to learn. It can be the secret to your success as a manager, and without it you have no future. You will get stressed out, burned out, mean, and grouchy. You may as well go back to the ranks and let the captain hire someone who can delegate properly.
What are the keys to delegation?

Well, first of all, you must have an overall vision of what you are trying to accomplish, and then you must make sure that the goal is crystal clear. Determine what is to be done, how it is to be done, by whom, and with what resources. Then, plan properly. Every minute spent in planning saves 10 minutes in execution. Think the steps through carefully, be clear about your goals and objectives, and then convey everything through discussion and feedback.

Be very clear about the results expected; list everything that must be done to achieve the results you want, what resources are to be used, and the standards that are expected. Make sure your instructions are so clear and simple that anyone could follow them.

Be sure to communicate the expected standards of performance, as well. Each person should know what is expected of them, how the results are to be measured, and when it is to be done. People can’t hit a target they can’t see. It’s your responsibility to create a clear picture of their responsibilities.

Think through the steps to be done to complete the project. What experience and current abilities are needed to it? Discuss the work thoroughly with the person assigned, and then ask them for feedback to make sure you’re “on the same page” as far as understanding what you are asking them to do. Organize your supplies and make sure you have everything needed to do the job.

Remember, you are still responsible for the end product of the work you have assigned. Check in frequently to see that everyone is doing what he or she is supposed to be doing, to the proper standard, with the proper supplies, and at the right speed. If a stew uses a Scotchbrite pad to clean the high-gloss paint in the foyer and damages the surface, it is your responsibility, for not making it clear what was expected and what supplies to use.

Practice management by walking around. Even if you are working on projects of your own, stop frequently, go around and ask how things are going. Make sure they have everything they need. Inspect what you expect.

Be visible and available and think of yourself as a helper, a teacher, and a resource to help get the job done. Ask for feedback, make suggestions, encourage, and motivate others.

Create an environment where people feel good about themselves and their work. Listen carefully when people talk. Thank them for anything and everything they do that is out of the ordinary. Praise them in front of others.

Delegate patiently, delegate thoroughly, delegate carefully.

For each project, clearly communicate what responsibilities are being delegated, what your goals or objectives are, and to what standard the performance is being measured. Ask for feedback to be sure you are understood. Have the proper supplies and resources available. Manage by walking around. Be visible, available, and helpful. Check on progress every step of the way, and keep the end result in sight. Remember, clarity is the foundation of great management.