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The art of delegation

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

“To get anything of importance done, a manager must delegate everything that can possibly be done by others. This is a simple fact of business life,” says Brian Tracy, author of Delegation & Supervision. Here, Tracy shares some techniques for becoming more effective at this critical skill with Managing People at Work’s Beth Braccio Hering:

MPAW: What are some ways to make delegating less stressful?

Tracy: Match the person to the job. Before delegating a task, be sure the person has the skills, abilities and motivation level required to complete it. This doesn’t mean you can’t give people jobs that are more challenging than what they are doing now, but it is important that you not give them jobs that are too difficult or so beyond their current abilities that they have little chance of success. Also, delegate gradually. Start small and steadily increase the scope and complexity of tasks, so you can build up confidence in a person.

MPAW: Why is it important to delegate the whole task?

Tracy: Assigning a single job to two or more people sounds good in theory: If one person is unavailable, another will step in. In practice, what typically happens is that no one feels responsible. To avoid this common situation, assign exclusive responsibility, making clear that only one person owns the job. Employees demonstrate greater loyalty, commitment and dedication to the organization when they feel a sense of ownership and personal empowerment.

MPAW: What else can a manager do to ensure success?

Tracy: When delegating a task, keep reminding the person of what he or she has been hired to accomplish. The more specific, measurable results that employees can accomplish in their work, the happier and more motivated they will be. Also, encourage participation and discussion. It’s easy to simply tell someone to do a job. It’s much more effective to ask them to participate in developing a plan for doing the job right. When you explain the why, the how and the standards clearly, and they get a chance to comment and ask questions, employees walk away feeling as if the job belongs to them.

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