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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Delegating Successfully...hard to do as founder..read

Delegating can be a hard thing to do as a company founder, only you can do it, or you can get it done faster...but it will come a time when you will need to delegate to the team...because you will not be doing your own job correctly...you have only a certain amount of quality time in a day..make sure you use it wisely...utilize the others around you, that's what you hired them for, and a last word delegate meaningful work, or your employees will some go somewhere else where they can get meaningful tasks. Have a read at this article on Delegation by BNET.
Delegating Successfully
by BNET Editorial

If you are a manager or a supervisor with a team working for you, you will surely need to delegate from time to time. It’s a key skill to develop for several reasons. Delegation shouldn’t be about giving tasks to others because you don’t want to do them yourself. And it’s not only about getting a particular job done. It is also about encouraging people to learn new skills and reach their potential, all of which helps a business to grow.
While many of us like being in complete control and find it hard to let go of things we know we can do well, this state of mind doesn’t always serve us or the companies we work for. If we want to be successful managers—and preserve our own sanity—we must learn to shift some of the burden to others.
What You Need to Know

Why do people find it difficult to delegate?
There are many reasons why you may be reluctant to delegate. Sometimes it seems easier to perform the task yourself than to make the effort to explain it to somebody else and then take even more time to correct his or her mistakes. On the other hand, if you’re dealing with someone who is very bright and quick to learn, you may feel threatened by their competence. What if that employee takes over the role of being the person the rest of the staff go to with their problems? They may even find something wrong with the way you do things.
Lack of confidence can make it hard to give instructions and may keep you from delegating. If you do manage to assign a task, and problems arise because the employee fails to do it to your liking, you may find it difficult to confront the person about his or her actions in an appropriate way. Conversely, if staff have been given increased responsibilities and have done well, you may doubt your ability to reward them sufficiently. Another problem with delegating could be a reluctance to assign tasks that you think are too tedious.
Finally, while any supervisor or manager must eventually realize that delegation is necessary, it can be difficult to know where to start, or how to go about it. You will need some kind of method to follow. The following paragraphs should help put you on the right track.

In what ways can delegation help me?
There are many benefits to be accrued by delegating. While delegating doesn’t necessarily make things easier, it does make them more efficient and effective. Done well, it will allow you to concentrate on the things you do best and also give you the time and space to tackle more interesting and challenging tasks. You’ll be less likely to put off making key decisions and you’ll be much more effective. Essentially, delegating represents a more interactive way of working with a team of people, and it involves instruction, training, and development. Your staff will benefit because everyone needs new challenges, and by giving them a variety of tasks, you’ll be able to test their abilities in several areas and increase their contribution to the business. Staff will learn to make decisions and will develop a better understanding of the details of projects they’re working on. Done well, delegation should improve the overall productivity of employees.
While it can be tempting to withdraw into “essential” tasks and not develop relations with your team, the bottom line is that it’s wasteful for senior staff get paid big salaries for doing low-value work. Passing tasks along to those you supervise is essential if they are to develop and contribute more to the company. Not knowing how to do this is recognized as one of the biggest obstacles to small business growth. And by delegating, you’ll have much more time to do your own job properly.
The results will be well worth the time and effort you invest in it.

When should I delegate, and who should I Delegate To?
Because delegation is fundamental to successful management, it’s imperative to seek out opportunities to do it. If you don’t have enough time to devote to important tasks, or if you simply have too much work to do, learn to delegate. When you can see that some staff members, particularly new employees, need to develop, or when it’s clear that an employee has the skills needed to perform a specific task, always try to delegate.
Make sure you understand the capabilities and character of the person you’re delegating to. It’s important that he or she have the skills and knowledge—or at least the potential—to develop into the role. Also make sure that you are dealing with someone you can trust, particularly if the job involves important or delicate information. You may want to start out with small tasks that will help show what the person can do. Also check to see that the employee is available to take on the assignment and give them time to think it over, if you can. Spread out the tasks you delegate among as many people as possible; you don’t want to put too much pressure on your most effective workers. Two or more people could even share a task if it’s particularly complicated.

Are there any particular tasks I should I delegate?
There are likely to be many routine administrative tasks that take up too much of your time. Review the small everyday jobs that you’ve always done and delegate as many of them as you can. Although you may even enjoy doing some of these (for example, sending faxes), they are not a good use of your time. Another excellent task to delegate is that of being your company’s point of contact for a particular person or organization, which is important but can be time consuming
On a larger scale, find a more complex project that is still manageable for one person to handle; these make good tests of people’s ability to manage and coordinate tasks. When delegating, it’s important to assign a task that is likely to be completed successfully by the person and, if possible, something for which he or she has a special aptitude. Don’t risk imposing a negative experience on staff members by delegating an impossible task at which others have failed.

What to Do
Stay Positive

Think positively: not only do you have the right to delegate, you must delegate. Although it may not work out perfectly at first, over time you’ll feel more comfortable and your delegating skills will improve with experience. Be as decisive as you can, and, if you feel you need to learn to be more assertive, consider attending a course or reading one of the many books on the subject. By taking a positive approach, you will become more confident and also give your employees confidence in themselves. In order to create a team spirit, they need to feel that you believe in them.
By organizing yourself first, you can stay on top of things and generate more efficient performance from the person you delegate to. If you don’t have a plan and an overview of what’s going on, you won’t be able to identify, schedule, and evaluate the work being delegated. Prepare the ground before seeing the person (but don’t use this as a ploy to delay!). Assess the task and decide how much responsibility to assign. Then review the person’s progress regularly and make notes.

Discuss the Work or Project to Be Delegated
When you meet the person or people you’re delegating to, discuss the tasks and the problems in depth, and explain fully what’s expected of them. It’s crucial to give people precise objectives, but at the same time you’ll want to encourage them to ask you questions and participate in setting the parameters. They need to understand the value of what you’re asking them to do, and where it fits into the scheme of things. Ask them how they’ll go about the task; discuss their plan and the support they might need.

Set Targets and Offer Support As Appropriate
Targets should be set and deadlines scheduled into daily planners. Summarize what has been agreed on, and take notes about what the person is required to do so everyone is clear. There are times when you may want to be deliberately vague—for instance if you want to give someone a lot of creative scope or test them in a certain area–but if the task is urgent and critical, you must be specific.
The level of support you offer to the delegate will depend very much on that person, his or experience levels, and also on your relationship with him or her. In the early stages you might want to work quite closely with them and share certain tasks, but you’ll want to back off more as your understanding of the person’s abilities increases. Encourage people to come back to you if they have any problems or questions about how to proceed. While it’s important that you enjoy the freedom to get things done that you wouldn’t have had time for without delegating other tasks, you should be accessible if there are complications or the situation changes. If someone needs to check something with you, try to get back to him or her quickly. However, don’t interfere or criticize if things are going according to plan.
Monitoring progress is vital—it’s very easy to forget all about the task until the completion date as you deal with other issues on your to do list, but, in the meantime, many things could have gone wrong. When planning to delegate, time should be built in to review progress. If you were expecting problems to arise and you haven’t heard anything, check with the employee that all is well. Schedule routine meetings with the person and be flexible enough to changes deadlines and objectives as the situation changes.

Review the Completed Work
When a task is complete, it’s important to review how things went, giving praise first and then discussing any problems that arose or areas where things might have gone better. If an employee’s responsibilities are increased, make sure he or she receives fair rewards for it. On the other hand, don’t offer rewards you can’t deliver. Also bear in mind that development can carry its own rewards. Keeping notes on the results of tasks that you delegate will come in handy when you meet with an employee for periodic reviews and to discuss that person’s career development. If someone has failed to deliver, discuss it with him or her, find out what went wrong, and aim to resolve problems in the future.

What to Avoid
You Think People Should Approach the Task As You Would
Managers often criticize the way things are done when the methods used to accomplish a task are different from the way they would have done it themselves. Remember that people have a variety of ways of working; and concentrate on the results rather than the methods used to obtain them.

You Delegate Responsibility, but No Authority
It’s unfair to expect results from someone when stumbling blocks are put in their path. If you’re going to delegate responsibilities, you must confer the necessary authority upon the person you’re delegating to. And make sure that everyone involved in giving information or support for the project knows this.

You Don’t Give Others a Chance
If you’re giving someone something new to do, you must be patient. It takes time for people to adapt to new responsibilities and develop new skills, but it’s time that will pay off in the end. Have faith in the people around you.

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