How to Become a Master Delegator

How to Manage Employees

When you become a leader, there's one skill you must learn to master more than any other: delegation.

"While some leaders think it takes too much of their time and attention to delegate work to their people, there's a big upside to this process," says contributor Peter Economy. "If done correctly, you will find that your staff are more productive and happier as a result. When your people know you trust them enough to delegate an important task, it boosts their motivation to get the job done."

But delegation isn't as easy as it sounds. To do it effectively, you must do more than just assign a task, according to Economy, who says good delegation begins with strong feedback.

"Make sure to contribute both positive and negative feedback, so the person you're giving responsibility to will understand what he or she is doing well and how they need to improve," Economy advises. "Exceptional performance is more likely to continue if it's recognized and rewarded. Do follow through when someone performs exceptionally and be generous with promotions, salary increases and bonuses, and sincere and heartfelt thank-yous."

Also fundamental is shared understanding. "Be clear about what you want your employees to do," Economy continues. "Make sure employees understand the responsibilities they are assuming and that they accept them. Ask them to confirm their understandings with you."

Finally, remember that delegating responsibility isn't the same as abdicating it. "Be sure to keep an eye on things," Economy concludes. "Monitoring the work of people will both motivate them and help you to catch problems as they arise. An inexperienced team member will need more oversight. More experienced employees can handle greater freedom and self-manage their initiative, ingenuity, and imagination."

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Questions, Comments, Suggestions?
Contact Successful Meetings Editor in Chief Vincent Alonzo with your "How To" ideas.