Learn To Delegate

Learn to delegate


Everyone wants to get to the top of the game. We inspire to become a manager and a leader. We go to university or college, spend between 3-5 years of our lives studying. Some of us spend even more time doing a postgraduate degree.

The problem is that once we start working, we realise that the gap between uni and real life is a big one (especially when we have to manage staff members).

Not many people are aware that dealing and managing people & personalities is one of the most difficult jobs there is, and this is why it is essential that you learn to delegate.

What lots of people do is instead of spending valuable time with their teams, they waste time on jobs that don’t offer anything to them.

A research done by the Harvard Business School indicated that people working in knowledge skill jobs (knowledge workers) spent 41% of their time on tasks and activities that offer little personal satisfaction and that could be handled competently by others. So why do they keep on doing them?

Because it is in our nature to make us feel busy and important.
Even the best workers spent long periods of time on tedious, non-value-added activities.

But this is easily solved.
In their experiment (ran by Julian Birkinshaw and Jordan Cohen) the only thing they asked from workers was to:

Make yourself more productive by thinking consciously about how you spend your time; deciding which tasks matter most to you and your organisations; and dropping or creatively outsourcing & delegating the rest“.

This very simple (but conscious) approach was tried several times (over 48 times in several countries), and in all the interventions there was a dramatic reduction of involvement on low-value tasks. Work was cut by 15% per week and their meeting time was cut by 5% (a combined total of 20% is not bad!).

By doing this simple change in mindset workers started to enjoy clear benefits like spending more time supporting their teams and an increase in sales.

Most workers participating in the research eventually overcame their mental blocks and started to delegate and rely more on their teams members. Some of them started to delegate up to 20% of their work with no decline in their productivity or their team. One of them said: “I overestimated my subordinate’s capability at first, but it got easier after a while, and even having a partially done piece of work created energy for me”.

So, now that you saved some time, how will you use it?

The main goal is to be efficient AND effective.

These are the most important action points:

  1. Determine how to best make use of the time you’ve saved: Make a list of 3 top priority things that you should be doing but aren’t (and couldn’t do before due to the lack of time). Commit to this plan!
  2. Spend time with your workers/team members and give them support is one of the most important issues of being in a leadership positions.
  3. Identify your weak areas and seek training (professional development)

Remember that even the best workers or managers need help and support (and this includes YOU).

There is nothing negative in asking for assistance.

There is no shame in showing respect to others by embracing their talent and the new ideas they can bring to the table. In fact it is your job as a leader to make your staff grow professionally.

Remember that it is always better (and easier) to play the game being part of a team. When you include and acknowledge all those working with you, you and your team mates will reach the goals and objectives you want to achieve.

But now this is what I want you to do (leave your comments below):

  1. let us know any delegation challenges you’ve encountered (as a manager or as a staff member)
  2. What would be your top 3 priority tasks be?
  3. Did you find this article useful?


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