As any successful IT manager can attest, there’s a lot more to effective delegation than just doling out work to your subordinates. Get this skill right, and you’ll have a happier team and a stronger department where every member’s skills and competencies are being maximised, as well as giving yourself more time to think about ‘big picture’ issues. Get it wrong, and you could end up an overworked mess while your subordinates feel under-appreciated or micro-managed. Here are our top five tips to get your delegation skills up to scratch:
1. Stop thinking you’re the only one who can get a job done properly
There are usually many ways to skin a cat – something many managers would do well to remember when offering tasks to their team members. Yes, you obviously have a decent formula for completing jobs that’s worked wonders for you, but often trying to force someone else to use exactly the same methodology can be a recipe for failure. If you’ve chosen the right person for the task, given clear guidance about your expectations and provide regular progress checks (see below), then the ‘how’ shouldn’t be an issue. Remember – effective delegation provides employees with the opportunity to advance, which in turn leads to a happier and more optimistic work environment.
2. Provide clear instructions
Think about how to explain the requirements of the job, as well as your expectations, before speaking to your employee. Include details of tools or resources, the reasons the job needs to be done and what to do if they run into a likely difficulty. It’s also crucial to check that they’ve understood and agree with the requirements before leaving them to it.
3. Keep track of progress
There’s a balance to be struck between allowing someone to be independent and implement their own methodology and making them feel too isolated. Build in progress checks at particular intervals throughout a task and try to resist the urge to do too much peering over shoulders.
4. Provide a sense of ownership
For an employee to really excel at a task, it’s essential to cultivate their sense of ownership over a given task. Some key ways to achieve this include: agreeing and discussing goals rather than dictating them; making it clear that everyone has a fundamental role to play in the completion of the project, and ensuring that anyone not pulling their weight as much as others is discreetly encouraged to take responsibility for their shortcomings.
5. Evaluate and express thanks
Simple and oh so effective. Try to come up with a couple of reasons to praise all team members, and set aside some time to listen to honest feedback about what they think could have been done differently.