Effective Delegation

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Delegating work effectively is like being the coach of an athletic team. You have to know what projects employees can handle and what projects they can't. Proper delegation creates a team spirit and helps you accomplish much more than if you try to do it alone. In delegating responsibilities to your employees, here are some key points to remember:

Stimulate Progress with Small Successes
Small successes stimulate progress by creating a sense of pride and self-confidence among employees. When you delegate responsibilities to address a fairly complicated project, break it into manageable segments. As each segment is successfully completed, review progress, offer recognition for work well done and move forward in delegating the next task to be accomplished.

Set Realistic Deadlines
If you don't give clear deadlines, employees won't feel accountable for completion of their tasks. Give a due date for the assignment and explain how it relates to other priorities. Then, when the assignment has been made, periodically review progress. That way you'll be able to monitor progress, offer feedback and challenge employees who may be getting off course. But, also make it clear to employees that you're more concerned about the quality of final outcomes rather than the day-to-day details that accompany them. Otherwise, they may come to believe that you don't trust them to carry out the assignment effectively or they may become overly dependent on your support and input.

Promote Self-Reliance and Growth
Don't provide solutions to the problems that employees encounter with the tasks you have delegated. When staff members come to you with problems, they're probably looking for you to solve them. Don't do it. Instead, teach them how to solve problems themselves. If employees come to you with a problem or question, ask for their ideas about possible solutions. Encourage them to be creative and come up with new ideas. Then, permit them to follow through wherever possible.

Rejuvenate Workers
Even the most skilled and motivated workers can find themselves becoming bored by the repetitiveness of assignments delegated to them. Shuffle things around to help your workers to remain dedicated and enthusiastic. Rotate work spaces and responsibilities from time to time so your employees have a chance to learn new skills, meet different people and build new relationships outside of their more routine activities. Offer the opportunity to let workers try different jobs on a short-term basis. This will give them new perspectives on the work that they and other people do.