Delegation: An Employee Engagement Tool

delegate todayA few months ago, a software developer was caught “delegating” his entire workload to China. The man sent off each of his work assignments while he spent his days goofing off on the Web and looking at videos of cats. Delegating his work in this way was well worth his time: he continued receiving his six-figure salary and paid only a fifth of that amount to a company in Shenyang. You gotta hand it to him; the guy had audacity. I’m not sure his use of delegation would go over well in many companies, but it certainly was effective, that is not the delegation process we would like to talk about.

So let’s talk a little bit about how delegation should be used. The level of an employee’s engagement is often directly related to how work is assigned to them. If work is assigned to a direct report for the purpose of their development, the individual will be more engaged. Delegation with the mindset of employee development will keep your direct reports motivated and engaged.

And that’s not all. If done right, delegation will result in several big benefits for you and your direct reports. Effective delegation will:

  • Engage your employees
  • Save time
  • Increase your leadership acumen
  • Achieve more thru others (more influential)
  • Prepare you and your direct report for promotion

In general, though, managers tend to under-delegate. Why? It is common for a person who is newly promoted to a management position to have difficulty delegating? Often, this is the case. Many times, employees are promoted to management roles because they are good at what they do. They carry-over this trait to their management role and end up completing tasks and making decisions they should be delegating.

Here are some common excuses for not delegating:

  1. Lack of time:
  2. Perfectionism:
  3. Enjoy “getting your hands dirty”:
  4. Fear of surrendering authority:
  5. Fear of becoming invisible:
  6. Belief that your direct reports are not up to the demands of the work

delegate picAsk yourself whether you have any of the above feelings in regards to particular tasks, decisions, or direct reports. Challenge yourself on any judgments that hold you back from delegating. To be an effective manager, you must accept the fact that delegation will sometimes result in your direct reports making mistakes. Learning occurs best when people make mistakes. Organizations can improve only if people become more capable, which requires learning, which requires mistakes, which requires delegation—even when there may be reasons (like the above) that make you hold back.

Your challenge as a leader is to learn to overcome these reasons not to delegate. Just as with engagement, delegation is a matter of trust; trusting your direct reports will make them feel valued and trusted themselves. They will respond accordingly. The secret is to delegate to develop instead of dumping.

Knowing that you need to delegate does not prepare you for the actual delegation process.  It helps to know that you need help, but getting the right process is just as important.  Getting managers, the right help to learn the delegation process as well as other soft management skills is an investment that companies cannot afford to skip.

Check this course for Effective Delegation by our friends Sixela Coaching.   Use coupon coupon code velascoupon for 50% off.  Offer expires on July 31 2016

 

Luis Velasquez MBA, PhD

Luis is a leadership coach, employee engagement expert, and management trainer. Formerly a University professor and research scientist, Luis holds a dual Ph.D. from Michigan State University; and an MBA in Organizational Leadership.

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