Supervisors get things done through other people. The ability to delegate is an essential supervisory skill. If supervisors try to do everything themselves:
- Their quality of work and quality of life may suffer
- Their staff may not be given adequate opportunity to develop
- Their organisation may suffer with burnt out supervisors and an inadequately skilled and transient workforce.
How to delegate?
- Outcome, outputs or deliverables
- Importance and urgency (= priority)
- Timeframe and budget
- Risks and issues
- Skills required.
You should identify the staff member to whom the task is likely to be delegated and consider the following questions:
- Is it appropriate that this task be done at this level?
- Are they capable – skills and experience?
- Do they have spare capacity – current workload and availability?
- You should also take into account their development needs and perhaps their preferences.
You should then appropriately brief the staff member:
- Clearly define the task and personal development objectives
- Clearly define the framework within which the delegation is occurring (see graphic)
- Agree a suitable monitoring and reporting framework
- Be reasonable to yourself and to your staff – do not delegate all the pleasant tasks – and do not delegate all the unpleasant tasks
- Be generous – delegate some of the tasks you enjoy and give yourself and your staff the opportunity to develop
- Be fair – delegate tasks to both the most capable and the least capable of your staff – give them all the opportunity to learn and grow
- Be understanding – recognise that staff may not do things exactly the same way that you do – they might even discover better ways of doing things
- Foster creativity – delegate the objective not the process – as much as possible, encourage staff to develop new and better ways of doing things
- Be trusting – as much as possible, allow staff to make their own decisions, and their own mistakes
- Be supportive – regularly check back with the staff you have delegated tasks to and make sure they are coping
- Be helpful – be available and accessible to help your staff complete the task
- Be flexible – different tasks and different staff will require different delegation techniques and different inputs from you
- Be patient – resist the temptation to take a task back that you have delegated – and only intervene if you must
- Be honest – if changes to the delegation are required, ensure that staff are clear about how it will change and why
- Be firm – remember that you have a job to do – expect staff to meet standards, deadlines and budgets
If you need help, when you’re ready to talk, we’re ready to listen – so contact the Hub!