06 June 2007

Delegate And Accomplish More

Working for a for-profit organization, most of the time I'm tasked with tight deadlines. Sometimes, it seems impossible to accomplish a project with too tight deadline especially when the manpower and the support equipment allocated for the project are inadequate. One of the things that has always helped me to survive in tight situation is task delegation. By delegating tasks, I was able to accomplish more in shorter duration of time.

Delegating is a key aspect of leadership. Derived from Latin, delegate means 'to send from'. When you delegate, you are sending the work 'from' you 'to' someone else. Basically, it is about applying leverage by getting other people to do tasks for you so that you are able to accomplish more in shorter duration of time. It also enables you to concentrate on other critical tasks that require more of your attention and skill.

The advantage of delegating is not only providing you with more time but delegation also helps to develop the skills of the people in your team. When your team members are well trained, you don't have to worry much when you are absent because they would be able to handle the work. Delegation also creates better distribution of work throughout your team when it is done properly. It motivates your team members to share the responsibilities.

It is a fact that you will not always get the work done exactly the way you would have done it yourself. It all depends much on whom you delegates to and how good you are at delegating. Delegating is a skill that you have to acquire. You can learn it by reading but you will only master it through your working experience.

In some cases you may find that the delegated tasks are done better than what you have expected. Through this kind of experience, you discover the skills of your people and from there, you know which task is best for that person.

Before delegating, it is important that you identify a suitable person for the task. Explain to him clearly about the task and what outcome is required. Clearly define his authority, limitations and responsibility. Start delegating a small task and as he improves, delegate slightly more than what you think he is capable of handling. This will help to develop his skills. If possible, do not assign any one person to play too important a role because you would face difficulties if this person had to go on emergency or sick leave.

Give your staff opportunities to use his own creative way in dealing with the task. This will help to boost their interest in doing the job. Keep your mind open to new ways of doing things. Always monitor the progress of the task. Remember that the responsibility is still yours to complete the project correctly and on time. If a problem is encountered, guide and give suggestions but always encourage him to come up with a solution rather than asking you what to be done. And of course, give him a pat on his back when the task is successfully completed. This helps to increase his moral and motivates him.

Delegating is about sharing the work load and responsibilities. Some leaders tend to do all the work by themselves. When they could not cope with the work load, they became frustrated.

Delegation is taking a risk that the person performing the task might make a mistake. Do not take back a task just because you think that you can do it faster or better but guide the person to do it better. You will appreciate this at times when you are desperately in need to delegate. Through delegating, you can achieve things that you could never achieve by doing alone. Life is too short and you don't have time to learn and do everything yourself.

Upon completion of a project, I usually spend some time to study on how to improve my work in the future. I like to look into how I can do things differently and get better results. There are always better ways of doing something than the way it was done previously.

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