The Art of Delegation

By Ken Chapman, Ph.D.
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
Delegating work properly does a lot more than make your life as a leader easier. It builds teamwork, increases efficiency, develops careers, raises morale, and boosts productivity. But it is not always easy to do. Here are some simple strategies to get you started.
1. Delegate responsibility, not work. Too many leaders confuse delegating responsibility with dumping work on someone. Team members know the difference. Do not assign a project and insist a team member do it your way with no room for personal initiative.
2. Allow employees to take turns running staff meetings. This does three things. First, it shows that you respect and trust their abilities. Second, it builds their confidence and leadership skills. Finally, it gives you a chance to see how someone handles a group in case you ever consider promoting that person to a managerial position.
3. When delegating, do not ask an employee, “Do you understand?” A lot of employees will answer “yes” regardless for fear of looking stupid. Instead, ask questions such as “Any ideas off the top of your head as to how you will proceed?” You will get a better sense of whether or not you were clear in your directions.
4. Keep a “delegation diary.” Once you realize how effective and uplifting proper delegation can be, you will want to do it more often. Be careful and be organized. Keep a written record of which projects you have delegated to which team member.
5. Establish routine checkups. At the beginning of the delegation process, establish meetings in advance when you and the team member can sit down and make sure everything is on track. Do not check up every day. You want team members to know you trust them to get the job done on their own.

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For over 40 years Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc. has been making a measurable difference in the corporate cultures of American businesses and in the lives of their team members. KC&A’s value equation is “Committed to People, Profit, and More.”

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