One of the most important management skills you'll ever master is delegating. Delegating does not mean passing off work; it means giving others authority, responsibility and accountability.
When you fail to delegate, two key problems arise. First, you handle work that others could do more efficiently and at a lower cost to your company. Second, you take your time and resources away from projects that only you are best prepared to do. In effect, you waste valuable resources--time, money and morale.
Following are 13 steps to become a master at delegation:
1. TRUST YOUR STAFF. If you do not trust one or more members of your staff, take time to consider why. Is he not trust-worthy? Is she incapable of handling work that you would like to delegate? Then ask yourself if your own actions may be the root cause for your lack of trust: have you provided adequate feedback (positive/negative) about job performance? Have you delegated authority as well as responsibility? Do you provide support and build confidence in others? Do you encourage employees to come to you with questions?
2. AVOID SEEKING PERFECTION. Instead of striving for perfection, establish a standard of quality and provide a time frame for reaching it. Then let your staff choose any reasonable means to reach that goal.
3. GIVE EFFECTIVE JOB INSTRUCTIONS. Make sure your employee has enough information to complete the job successfully. Establish controls for regular feedback. And be sure your employee understands and accepts a job before you assume it is delegated and off your desk.
4. RECOGNIZE THAT OTHERS HAVE THE TALENT AND ABILITY TO COMPLETE PROJECTS. Sometimes managers believe that only they can do something the right way. This belief often develops because an employee handles a job differently than a supervisor would. But
handling a project differently doesn't mean that it is done better or worse. If you and your employee establish the goal to be achieved, the standards to follow, then the method, within reason, should not matter.