When you get promoted to become a people manager for the first time – often with no formal training – you suddenly have more responsibilities on your plate and a team waiting to be lead by you!
If you find yourself in this situation, then delegating is the most crucial skill you need to master first.
Delegating is an art form. It has many moving parts that you need to coordinate and bring together to meet deadlines, goals, and expectations. The talent of a good leader knows who needs to do what and plays to the strengths of each person. Delegation is both about formulating a plan to get things done and being motivational to get the most out of the team.
Here’s some advice to help you on your road to becoming a successful manager through mastering delegation:
- Lists: Write your to-do and task lists. You need to assign anything that is not central to achieving your department goal or supporting your team, to someone else. I don’t care if you love the task or feel like no one else could do it like you; you have to let go. Which leads nicely to point 2…
- Trust: If you trust your team you will find it easier to delegate tasks. Make sure you have a clear understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, and working style and assign work that aligns to this. Trust will help you avoid the dreaded micromanaging! Although you need to have sight on all projects, it’s important to give autonomy to the individual. Sometimes they will fail, but you need to realise that this is an opportunity for your people to grow - just as you did before them.
- Motivate: Delegation is not just about working smarter but empowering your people. To start with you may notice your junior takes longer than you do to complete tasks. This is because they are still learning. If you have delegated correctly, you will find that he or she quickly becomes competent and reliable. And always provide recognition where deserved.
- Maintain control: Clearly articulate the desired outcomes, deadlines, and expectations. Discuss check-ins, the process to alert you to problems, and your availability to guide when necessary. This will help you avoid micromanaging too.
- Review: Finally, and most importantly once the work is complete you need to set aside time to review it. If the work is not up to your expectations or if it doesn’t meet the goals you set, you must discuss it with your junior. Otherwise, they will unknowingly be overloading you with work to redo and stealing your precious time.