To be truly effective at delegating, you must have the right attributes and attitudes about delegation. These positive attributes, outlined below, include personal security, risk taking, a trusting nature, task-orientation, and a good degree of patience.
Managers who are good at delegating feel confident in their abilities and position in the company and have a positive attitude about delegating. They consider delegating a means to prepare team members to be future managers. They view delegation as a means of achieving their own, and the company's, performance goals.
Good delegators are willing to take risks to get tasks done, stretching resources and making mistakes. They are willing to accept and learn from failure. They must allow both less experienced and more knowledgeable employees to make decisions.
Good delegators are willing to trust another to perform a tasks for which they alone will be held responsible. They grant such trust with full knowledge of any limitations the team members may have, such as lack of experience. They allow the team member to supply, without interference, his own ideas as to how an assignment should be completed. They don't revoke their trust after an assignment is completed. Team members need to be supported even if the actions they take are criticized by others. For example, if a person is given authority to conduct an audit, that person should be supported regardless of the audit's finding.
The following general guidelines help increase team members' trust.
* Backstop team members' decisions. Even though you don't agree with team members' decisions, back them up when they need support, especially in front of others.
* Don't harp on team members' mistakes. Team members usually realize when they make a mistake. Don't dwell on mistakes. Give employees the opportunity to correct them.
* Don't spy on team members. Set clear guidelines for monitoring progress that are known to each team member. Stick to the agreed-upon guidelines, and don't spy on team members to determine their progress.
* Don't withhold information as a test. Withholding useful information leads employees to mistrust you and your motives.