Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Delegating — When and Why

If you are a supervisor and feel perpetually pressured for time, you probably need to manage your time more effectively. (I feel incredibly guilty writing that, because I am notorious for being under time pressure. This is a classic case of “Do as I say because I know it’s right, even if I have trouble applying it.”)

  • Stop wasting time in unproductive activities that are not related to actual work!
  • Stop volunteering for work that no one really expects you to do. (Remember that it only makes you feel good to volunteer, not to actually do it.)
  • Stop doing work that is lower level than your job description.
  • Share work, or give it to employees who would like the challenge or the novelty of something you are now doing or have been asked to do by your manager.

That brings us to this post. Delegation is a prime employee-development and supervisory time-management tool.

Some reminders about delegation:

1. It is appropriate for supervisors and managers to delegate work down to the lowest level capable of doing it (within job descriptions).

2. Delegating work  is one of the best ways to help employees gain higher-level skills. If they aspire to higher positions in the organization, it can be helpful for that reason. If they do not, they will learn to see some of the bigger picture of what it takes to make an organization work.

3. Delegating work often results in work improvement. (A supervisor needs to watch that an employee doesn’t improve a task out of existence–unless that is a good idea!)

4. Delegating provides one more way for supervisors to train, commend, re-direct, be valuable, and in other ways gain more influence in the lives of employees.

5. Work that is delegated now and then, but not all the time, can positively break-up the routine.

6. Work that is delegated permanently can allow supervisors to focus on other key tasks and allow employees to become a resource, or to feel more valued as a team member.

Do some self-talk if you have to, to get comfortable with the idea of looking over your stack of work and parceling out to as many people as possible. A bit here and a bit there and you might help yourself a great deal–even if you have to spend a few minutes explaining a task. Delegation is probably why so many other managers seem much less harried and pressured than you do! And, you can bet you won’t be left twiddling your thumbs. But you may be able to go home almost on time.

April 17th, 2008 Posted by | Supervision and Management | no comments

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