It’s late Friday afternoon and everyone is packaging up to go home for the weekend except Janette. Her desk is still piled high with all those important assignments. Why does Janette still have work when no one else does? She just can’t let go. Others have a life, but she’s too busy ensuring her importance to the company and working late. If she has her finger in every piece of the pie it will make her more important? The reality is that she does not impress anyone. Others may question her ability to perform (she always has work to do and has to stay light to do it.) The favorable portrait she hopes to paint may actually be a negative one. What can Janette do? She can set boundaries. Pick the assignments she can accomplish and do well. She should delegate the rest.
Renee has just been promoted; she is taking the workload for three people while her team has nothing to do. She is overcome with the need to validate her recent promotion. It’s important to her to show the boss just how well placed his trust was in her by giving her the promotion. The reality is that her boss may reconsider just why he placed his faith in her. He didn’t promote her to become a workhorse but rather to lead a team of successful productive team members.
What can Renee do? She can start by evaluating the workload. Does she really need to handle each and every piece of paper? It’s imperative that she regroup and let go of some of the tasks she has assigned herself. She will be validated in her boss’s eyes with happy and productive employees who work together for a common goal. She needs to lead and delegate responsibilities to ensure the team’s success.
Wendy is the new kid on the block. She is a whirlwind of activity. She’s sure she is on the fast track and accepts any and all assignments that come her way (whether she can accomplish it or not). Wendy equates looking busy with productivity. She is also a little full of herself and believes she can do any assignment better than her peers. She can’t say no to what she perceives as her opportunity. She is reluctant to share the glory. What can Wendy do? The reality is that Wendy can’t do it all. She can begin by taking a serious look at her skill set. What does she do best and most effectively? What does she like to do and what does she not enjoy doing? From this list she needs to hone down the essential responsibilities. She needs to pick those that she can really bond with and delegate the rest.
It does not matter what if you are a Janette, Renee or Wendy. It does not matter what the position or title everyone, at one time or another, needs to delegate some of his or her responsibility. It’s not an easy thing to do. We suffer from the worry that if we delegate the job won’t be done right or worse, not at all. We are reluctant to let something move outside our control. In some psychologically repressed instances, we are hesitant to delegate responsibility for fear that it will be perceived as a weakness. We fear it will look as if we aren’t good at our jobs or that the situation is more than we can handle.
Ever had these thoughts? It’s time to unmask the real issues behind why we are reluctant to delegate. Before we can start we need to identify and understand exactly what delegation entails. Delegation is an art – it is the art of assigning part of your responsibility or empowering someone else to do a portion of your job. It is synonymous with giving out, entrustment, handing over, and allocation. It is not a way to unload unwanted responsibilities or to pawn off some task we hate.
Does delegating make you nervous? Trusting in someone else to get the work done is a tough concept for some leaders. We are all guilty of the superwoman syndrome, which as a point makes delegation a four-letter word. We are so busy doing it all, controlling everything, and thinking we doing it perfectly that it never occurs for us to think of letting someone else do some of the work. Additionally, the control part of the delegation process makes many us uncomfortable with passing on or sharing responsibility. We are sure that no one can do it as well as we can and at times we even need that validation. Well, GET OVER IT.
Delegation is an essential business skill we must all learn. The sooner you learn the ropes of delegating the better your job, health, and outlook will be. The more you learn to delegate, the easier it will become to do so. The key is to delegate with a plan in mind. This equates to more free time to do the things that you really want to do and like to do.
OK – stop thinking about yourself for a minute. The delegation process can have positive outcomes for both parties. It’s a little like grooming your own successor. You trust someone else to take a role in some of the workload. It actually gives that person a path to success. Now, back to you, you can’t move up the food chain if you are snowed under with supposed “responsibilities.” The best managers are those
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