In this Leadership Moments video, I’ll discuss the importance of delegation skills and techniques, and how leaders can learn how to delegate quickly and effectively.
Your ability to employ effective delegation skills and techniques could be a major factor in blocking or securing your opportunities for advancement. You might be surprised just how common it is for delegation skills to be seriously lacking at management and executive levels.
At upper levels of management a key issue with delegation techniques is that many executives harbor a deep unwillingness to admit to themselves that they need assistance to accomplish all the tasks they are responsible for.
The simple truth is that, as a leader, even at your best, you effectively cannot do alone all the things that you are expected to do. Delegation is necessary and you will be wise to learn to make it work for you.
One of the most crucial and challenging tasks for Leaders is leadership delegation; i.e. to effectively apportion work among the people they lead. Yet the truth is that many simply don’t. They don’t for many reasons.
For some it’s about control and perfection. They can’t give up control to someone else. No one can do the task as “perfectly” as they can. For others it’s about time. They are the ones who frequently complain that that they have too much to do and too little time in which to do it. As a result, they never make the effort to learn effective delegation techniques. There are many others, too, who simply don’t know how as delegation skills are rarely taught in formal academic centers.
So to be “the best” at delegation you need to know the answers to the following four questions:
1.) What do effective delegators do?
2.) How do I know what to retain and what to delegate?
3.) Did I delegate all that I could?
4.) How can I be confident that the results will be achieved?
Goal: Focus on the quality of your employees’ work, not their style of doing it.
The nuances of how people work, and when, become more pronounced when you’re managing a remote team, but they’re not a good basis for performance evaluation. Forget points of style — how long it takes an employee to reply to emails, for example — and focus on the results: both tangible and intangible.
Tangible results might include the proposal an employee submits for next quarter’s operating plan and whether it’s comprehensive, on target, and on time.
The intangibles are just as important: whether she collaborates well, makes decisions on her own, delivers what she promises, anticipates problems before they happen, generates ideas, communicates clearly, takes responsibility for her work, and goes beyond the call of duty, say to help a new co-worker get up to speed on a client.
Goal: Establish strong relationships to fuel motivation, collaboration, and productivity.
Recent research from the Gallup Organization’s Tom Rath shows that people with strong friendships at work are more motivated, loyal, collaborative, and productive.
In a typical office, those relationships form naturally.
Across remote locations, you need to foster not only your connection to your remote employees, but also their connections to one another.
Plan Face Time
To build relationships, there’s no substitute for meeting face to face.
In person, your employees are more likely to tell you about what’s not working. You’ll better understand their work style, how they make decisions, and the types of tasks they are best suited for. There’s no set equation for how often to meet, but twice a year is a good rule of thumb.
Read More A Successful Remote Team Requires a Strong Sense of “We”
Goal: Find the tools that fit both the job and the people who use them.
When it comes to technology, there’s only one clear-cut prescriptive: Let the work dictate the tool. Don’t invest in the latest whiz-bang technology and then try to figure out how it will be useful. A telephone, email, instant messaging, company intranet, and a broadband connection are a minimum starting point. You can add collaboration software later and unify your communications if the investment seems worthwhile.
Guidelines for making the most of your existing equipment:
Be Tech Savvy.
Beyond the platforms and software your company uses, you need to get ahead of the curve, continually researching the newest tools for efficiency and collaboration — often just to keep up with what your savvier team members are already using.
Maybe they use IM all day long and you prefer the phone. Yes, as the manager you call the shots — but ask yourself what will make your people most satisfied and productive. Maybe it’s time you started using IM, too!
Ask your peers what they like and what they don’t. Don’t be afraid to go online to test drive some tools, like Microsoft’s SharePoint collaboration software.
Read More Successful Remote Teams Require the Right Technology
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