Recently a Jet Blue flight attendant named Steve Slater made a dramatic exit from his job—and made the news world-wide. His “I can’t take it anymore” rant was heroic to some, and simply whiney to others.
Those who see him as a hero say he represents the overworked masses that have made it through the recession, but with nerves frayed and tempers flaring. Many of these workers, it seems, are just waiting for the next incident to push them over the edge.
But what about their bosses? Many have been hesitant to pile more onto employees who are already maxed out. Are managers getting ready to crumble under bigger piles of responsibility, too?
How does a manager avoid putting too much onto employees and risk having one quit in a dramatic fashion, or “slide the chute,” as the Jet Blue flight attendant did? It’s a matter of delegating—which is an art. Doing it right maintains a balance and keeps everyone’s workload manageable—including yours.
Here are some tips on delegating well:
- First of all, recognize that if you don’t delegate, you will cripple your ability to manage.
- Get to know your staff better. What area of the business they want to learn more about? Find tasks that will advance their knowledge and they’ll be more likely to do them well.
- Don’t “hover.” Once you give someone a task, let it go and let them do it—even if they’re doing it differently than you would (also known as doing it “wrong”).
- Give them time. Realizing an employee is capable of handling some things as well as you—even if they’re only at 50% now—comes with time. So delegate a task, teach them how to do it right, and expect that that will. Be patient.
- Empower employees with knowledge of how each project fits into the company’s operations. Let them see how important it is, and they’ll be more likely to take ownership of it.
When the recession hit, employers knew their workers couldn’t just walk out the door and find another job. Now that we’ve been through a couple of years of the downturn, stressed-out staff need to be handled carefully in order to keep them from running toward the exits as soon as things start getting better.
But, just because your staff may have options now or in the near future doesn’t mean you can’t add to their responsibilities. Who knows—maybe delegating some of your job duties will make their jobs much more fulfilling and your employees more likely to stick around!