Everyone agrees it's important to delegate, but few of us do enough of it. Are you using this importanttool to develop your staff and make the most of your time? Here's a quick assessment. For each question, give yourself a ranking of 1 ("usually true"), 2 ("sometimes true"), or 3 ("usually not true"):
___ 1. I generally work harder than the people on my team whom I supervise.
___ 2. Major document writing projects like reports, proposals and policies are too important for me to delegate to others.
___ 3. There aren't that many tasks that my people can do as well as I do.
___ 4. It's not worth my time to teach someone else to do the tasks that only come up two or three times a year.
___ 5. Like most people, I have to spend some of my time every day on routine work.
___ 6. Controlling decisions and staying directly involved in daily operations are two of my basic responsibilities as a manager.
___ 7. We have some very good people, but they don't have the information or experience needed to handle most of the problems that come up in our workgroup.
___ 8. If I had to miss work for several weeks, my staff would really have to hustle to maintain our usual level of productivity.
___ 9. The necessity of getting everything done right and on time is one reason I usually work longer hours than the rest of my team members.
___ 10. If you want something done right, you better do it yourself.
What do your answers mean?
High scores are better, as you might have guessed. If, after you add up all your rankings, your total score is 25 or higher, you clearly have the right attitude to use delegation well, and it probably shows in practice.
If your score was in the middle—between 16 and 24—take a good look at the items you ranked lower (that is, more true) than the others. Do they reflect your notion of your duty as a manager (such as items 2 and 6)? Are they assessments of the actual strength of your team (such as items 3 and 7)? Or do they shed light on your basic attitudes and personality traits (such as items 1 and 10)? If you scored 15 or lower, make sure you're being really honest, either about your own feelings or about the abilities of your team, and take the quiz again.
Those three variables will determine your ability to delegate successfully. If you're a workaholic, or if you don't trust your team members to do a good job, or if you feel guilty not doing the work yourself,will be more difficult for you. And your expectations for success will be lower, which can create a self-fulfilling prophecy—"I tried delegating some of my tasks, and it never worked out."