Avoiding Delegation & How to Embrace It

Avoiding Delegation & How to Embrace It

Delegation. A word that we all know well in the workplace and thrown around like confetti at times, but something that has proven to be more problematic when it comes to taking action and delegating. 

Avoiding delegation as a manager or leader is nothing new, but how do you get over the obstacle to begin delegating (and feeling okay about it)?

Whether you’re a new or seasoned manager struggling with delegating work to your team, you’ll want to listen up and keep reading!

Why It’s Important to Delegate

You can’t do the work of everyone on your team. You have a team to utilize and support the work and goals of the team. Learning how to confidently and effectively delegate work is crucial if you want to be a successful manager.

In addition to not only the amount of work needing to get done, delegation supports getting it done effectively through the team members who are most fit for the job. If you’re not a detail person but have a detail-oriented task to tackle, delegate it to a C style on your team who thrives with that type of work.

Delegating can help you learn your team’s strengths (and weaknesses) to understand best who and what should be delegated for a successful and effective team.

Avoiding delegation will lead to burnout, frustration with your team, and lack of results. As a manager, it’s your job to get the work done with your team. You can’t take on all their work, so it’s important to find out why you’re avoiding it and to remedy it for your own sanity and everyone’s success. 

Why Managers Avoid Delegating

There are generally two reasons why people avoid delegating work. 

  1. Conflicts between work styles
  2. Past experiences delegating work

Understanding the style of those you are delegating work to, but more importantly, your own work style is essential. Each style (D, I, S, and C) has different preferences, needs, and tendencies.

D style prefers the big picture without the details and minimal discussion.

I style will typically pass over details and will want to talk through the work.

S style may want support the first go around for validation that the work is up to par.

C style is motivated by accuracy, detail, and quality work.

If you’re a manager with a C style and expect a level of detail and accuracy, but you’re delegating to an I style who doesn’t look at it the same way or may not produce the same detail, you may feel reluctant to delegate.

This happens more than you think. We attach how we would do the work to the person we’re delegating it to. But everyone works differently, and as a leader, you need to ask yourself: Does it matter how it gets done if it’s completed accurately and timely?

In addition to the expectations and attachments, past experiences may not have gone well, which will add additional reluctance. If you’ve delegated in the past and the work was not completed accurately, on time, or to the level you wanted, that may cause you just to do it yourself.

The challenge with this is that managers aren’t looking at the work style; they are delegating the work to and ensuring they are receiving the information to support them. If you’re delegating to a C style, you need to assure you’re giving all the details. If you’re delegating to an S style, you may need to show them for the first time or explain a little more than, say an I or a D style.

Effective Delegation

Delegation is not dumping on your team to just “get it done.” Delegation is an important managerial tool to enhance individual and team performance and effectively get work done.

Follow these steps to practice effective delegation:

  1. Understand how you’d approach work
  2. Recognize the strengths and work style of your team members (who’s best to delegate to)
  3. Establish a process for delegation (why and who)
  4. Provide clear communication when delegating
  5. Provide resources and offer support to those you delegate to

“We accomplish all that we do through delegation – either to time or to other people.” 

                                                                                                                                – Stephen Covey

To be a successful manager, you need to learn how to delegate to your team effectively. If you’re struggling to delegate and want real-time support to become confident in delegation, connect with me for a free introductory call and learn about my new leadership coaching service!

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