How to Delegate Effectively

The second mindset adjustment involves being held responsible for more work than you could possibly complete by yourself.  This is corollary to point #1 because when you realize that your subordinates are less efficient and/or less skilled, you will be tempted to try to do the work yourself instead but must realize that this is likely impossible and counter productive to your own success as a manager.  In order to adapt to these adjustments you must learn to motivate your team and apply your skills in a targeted and controlled fashion or you will end up spreading yourself too thin and becoming ineffective.

If you have successfully discovered what your team is working on by reviewing their job descriptions, their current projects, and their stated goals, your next task is to learn to delegate effectively.  Delegation is a delicate art, especially when you are new to a management position.  All new managers tend to vacillate between micro-managing (i.e. breathing down the neck of your reports and poking them every time they do something that you would not have done) and being too far removed from the process (i.e. hiding inyour office wondering what you are supposed to be doing as a “manager”).

The goal of successful delegation is to isolate a specific task or goal, set a deadline and a definition of success, and then create a reasonable number of checkpoints along the way which will allow the task to be brought back on track if it has gone astray.  Once that framework is in place, a task can be delegated in a sufficiently hands off manner that both you and your team member report can keep track of it without undue stress.  It then becomes the manager’s job to keep track of the deadlines and checkpoints on an ongoing basis, freeing your team member to focus on the completion of the task itself.  The entire key to successful delegation lies in effectively defining the boundaries of the task or goal being delegated as it’s achievement (or lack thereof) must be interpreted identically by both parties.

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