As a manager, one of your most crucial tasks is to develop your employees. Part of that development means delegating responsibilities. It’s not always easy to determine what to delegate. Naphtali Hoff, president of Impactful Coaching & Consulting, offers thoughtful advice on this topic.
What to Delegate
Tasks that are done frequently and that don’t involve a huge level of confidentiality can be delegated. Think about whether someone on your staff has indicated an interest in a certain task. Does this employee have the ability to carry out the task from start to finish? Will working on this task develop a critical skill for the employee? If so, and you have the time train the employee, get started.
For example, you may be responsible for generating a report and sending it to a client with an analysis every month. The task involves working with spreadsheets and writing a projection. Once you identify the likely employee to take over the responsibility, introduce it in steps. You might have the employee run the report and then proofread and make suggestions about your write-up. After you turn over the reins to the employee, be available to answer questions and review the work to be sure critical elements of the project are done properly. Avoid nitpicking.
Remember that each team member will have their own style and want to put their own stamp on a project. You should be relieved when they show the interest in and ability to do so. It’s an indication that they are happy with the work.
What Not to Delegate
Some managers treat their team members as their own personal workforce. These managers tend to delegate every task and then head out to handle obligations they feel are more important than the actual job. While there are responsibilities that your employees can take care of, Hoff lists a few tasks that should never be delegated to staff members:
- Hiring decisions. You may want to solicit input from team members about top candidates and give them experience interviewing. In the end, you should make the hiring decision.
- Onboarding. Similarly, when a new direct report joins your team, clear your calendar. You need to form a solid working relationship with this person. Spend time training them and discussing your expectations. Be a decent human being and take them to lunch on their first day. Your investment in your new employee will translate into a loyal worker who understands their role in the organization.
- Recognition. Your company culture may involve team members calling each other out for well-done work. That’s no substitute for praise from the boss. Make sure you praise your direct reports, in person if possible, when they’ve done well.
On a regular basis, think about the tasks that could help your employees develop and start training them on how to assume more responsibility.