Posts Tagged ‘Delegating to Employees’

The Art of Delegating

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

employeescreeningblog.comRecently 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!

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Now is the Time to Delegate

Monday, March 30th, 2009

CB056550If your company has downsized to cut expenses lately, you’re likely facing the need to produce at pre-recession levels—or higher—with fewer people to do the job. You know that you need everyone to pull together now, but how do convince your staff to do it?  

Your employees know what’s going on in the job market, and most are probably thrilled to still have one. This is certainly not a something to take advantage of, but it can turn into a win-win situation. If your employees are more motivated and loyal, and you’re communicating your expectations clearly while treating everyone fairly, you may find them willing and ready to take on more responsibility. The happy result? You get the help you need, and your employees learn new skills, making them happier, more loyal, and more valuable. 

How do you delegate without making your staff feel overworked? Present your requests as opportunities for learning new skills or taking on leadership or management roles, not as another entry on an employee’s to do list. Empowering your employees to make decisions will help bring your company through this crucial economic time. 

Remember to build in a feedback procedure and be sure that every delegated task or project has a concrete timeline, so that everyone feels a sense of accomplishment.

5 Ways to Empower Employees Through Delegation

1. Give your employees a sense of ownership in the project; encourage questions and suggestions.

2. Don’t give out pieces of a task—let the person know the overall goal or purpose of the project so they understand it completely.

3. Don’t just hand over a project and walk away. Interact, ask for feedback, and know for sure that the employee understands exactly what you expect before you turn it over.

4. Help them know when they’re finished: take the time to explain your request thoroughly and paint a picture of what the outcome should look like.

5. Tell your staff at what points you’ll need progress reports or feedback. Let them know they’re on their own, but not all alone. 

When you’re hiring again, employment background checks will help you attract and retain the best employees to help you through your company’s growth and prosperity.