Hans F. Hansen

Effective Delegation

Over the past couple of weeks we have been looking at things that potentially save managers time and empower staff at the same time and thanks to everyone who has shared their feedback and some of things they have found useful. If anyone has used the really powerful question, please do share your experience?

I finished last week briefly looking at delegation and potentially another really powerful question, “am I busy doing the right thing” or “which of these tasks could I effectively delegate” and it links back to a post just before Christmas about succession planning and finding the “internal people with potential”, if you missed that post you can find it here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/sucession-planning-sarah-knapp/

As part of this post I want to look at the delegation cycle outlined in the same Skills for Care CPD module I mentioned last week “Self Management”, because whenever we have delivered this session, most people seem to really connect with it. Perhaps more to the point people connect with being dumped on, ie ineffective delegation which is why I chose the subject this week so carefully.

Have you ever felt like you have been “dumped on” rather than delegated to? Does it motivate you to do an outstanding job? Well hopefully the delegation cycle will help you, especially step 3.

Are you a manager and really busy? (see introduction) Think back to the really powerful question two weeks ago and not taking on all of the issues and tasks that staff bring to you; it is designed to empower staff. Identify those staff who respond well and see if you have found some of that internal potential we talked about earlier, because it is where the delegation cycle starts:

Identify the task for delegation.

A great starting point is not taking on the jobs you know staff are capable of dealing with themselves in the first place. Second, think about what tasks take perhaps a lot of time but involve lots of repetition and perhaps think about what would save you time and enable you to build the confidence of someone in your team (internal potential), if you asked them to take it over. It might be prudent to start small and increase over time, but take a good honest look at what you do, what takes time and what could be delegated, if you use the process outlined here.

Identify the potential delegate(s).

Think back to the internal potential already described. You know your team and sometimes trusting your instincts is exactly what is required, but you will see as we work our way through the process, if things don’t quite work out as intended it is okay, we can adjust as we go.

Agree expectations!

Remember I said look out for step three earlier. The who, what, when, where and why are really important to discuss and agree upfront, especially if you are new to delegation. But the idea here is that staff will not feel dumped on, because of having this discussion. We might talk about expectations in a future post, because expectations can sometimes cause challenges, especially when there is a mis-match, let me know your thoughts in the comments. The idea of this step will also give you the opportunity to uncover some of those potential mis-matches and deal with them before the member of staff gets started.

Stay engaged.

Check in every so often, how are you and they getting on, is everything okay? It would naturally be something to add to supervision. Do a review with the member of staff and check they are on the right track as far as you are concerned and they are on the right track as far as they are concerned. As we move towards the last step in the process, endeavour to observe how they are doing to see if you can gather feedback from colleagues to build the objective perspective you need, to keep the feedback loop going and objective.

Create accountability.

Lastly, reflect on progress, reflect on the work and again this would naturally be something to discuss in supervision. What worked well, what do we need to work on? Can that member of staff now take responsibility for that task(s) longer term? Hopefully, they may even devise a better way of completing the task(s)…

One of the things I hear managers say either in Lead to Succeed sessions or particularly this CPD session is, yes but if I do it, I know it is done to the standard that I want. Another one is, I might as well do it myself because by the time I have outlined what is required I could have done it in the same amount of time. These are to a certain extent valid concerns when we are as busy as we are, but at some point we have to appreciate that we cannot do everything and whilst I am not suggesting that we accept a lower quality outcome, staff will only learn your standard and how they can achieve it by getting the opportunity to find out just how much work goes into particular tasks, “that the manager has always done”.

Think of it another way, someone once said to me that if you are precious about things and don’t give people the chance to try, you deny them the chance to develop. Now, we certainly don’t want to deny our staff the opportunity to grow and ideally if we invest in their development we invest in the whole team and potentially give us as managers the chance to focus on the things we don’t always get time to focus on.

Give it a whirl and let me know who you get on? If you want to see the Delegation Cycle in action, just let us know and we will share the dates for the next CPD programme…