Blog of Strategic,General and Financial Management (English/Spanish)

Strategycorner is now expanding its content to include posts about General Management, Financial Management, Finance Transformation, Marketing and HR Management. Posts will be published in English or Spanish.

At the end of the blog there are different charts about Strategic Management in Spanish. In the archive area you could find a lot of posts about strategy and its execution in English/Spanish.

Jesús Peral
Executive MBA IE Business School, Madrid,Spain

Master in Strategic Management
IDE-CESEM Business School, Madrid, Spain

Find at the end of blog all charts related to Strategic Management topics commented in the posts

Mapa Estratégico Genérico/Strategy Map

Mapa Estratégico Genérico/Strategy Map
Mapa Estratégico Completo

Modelo de Dirección Estratégica/Strategic Management Model

Modelo de Dirección Estratégica/Strategic Management Model
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lunes, 20 de junio de 2016

Delegating, is it really simple ?

You can’t do everything yourself so you have to delegate. At first sight delegation looks simple. Just tell someone what you want him to do and then let him do it. But there is more than that.

It may be you would wish to delegate everything except what your collaborator cannot do. But you cannot then withdraw. You have arranged for someone else to do the job but have not passed on the responsibility for it. You are always accountable to your superior for what your collaborator does. Hence, something very important and frequently forgotten, you can’t delegate responsibility.

Delegation is really difficult. It is perhaps the hardest thing that managers have to do. The problem is getting the balance right between delegating too much or too little and between over or under supervision. When you give someone something to do you have to make sure that it gets done. And you have to do that without breathing down his neck, wasting your time and his, and getting in the way. There has to be trust as well as guidance and supervision.

But, what are the real advantages of delegation? I will outline just a few, well-known between experienced managers and directors:

·         It relieves you of routine and less critical tasks

·         It frees you for more important work, for example, planning, organizing, motivating or controlling.

·         It extends your capacity to manage

·         It reduces delay in decision making as long as authority is delegated close to the point of action

·         It allows decision to be taken at the level where the details are known

·         It develops that capacity of your team to make decisions, get things done and take responsibility. This is a very important one in my personal view as it builds, normally, a strong team.

Based on the above the next questions would be: when to delegate, how to delegate and what to delegate. 

In my experience, you should delegate when you have more work than you can effectively carry out yourself, when you cannot allocate sufficient time to your priority tasks and if you want to develop your collaborators. And finally, when the job can be done adequately by you collaborator.

When you delegate you have to decide what to delegate. To whom you delegate, for example, choosing who does the work. You also need to decide how to inform or brief your collaborator, guiding him and monitor his performance.

You delegate tasks you don’t need to do yourself. You are not just ridding yourself on the difficult, tedious or unrewarding tasks. Neither are you trying to win for yourself an easier life. Delegation will, in fact, make your life more difficult, but also more rewarding.

Clearly you delegate routine and repetitive tasks which you cannot reasonably expected to do yourself as long as you use the time you have won productively.

You also delegate specialist tasks to those who have the skills and know-how to do them. You cannot do it all yourself. Nor you can be expected to know it all yourself. You have to know how to select and use expertise. There will be no problem as long as you make it clear what you want from the experts and ask them to present it to you in a usable way. As a manager you must know what specialists can do for you and you should be knowledgeable enough about the subject to understand whether or not what they product is worth having.

Ideally, the person you choose to do the work should have the knowledge, skills, motivation and time needed to get it done to your complete satisfaction. Frequently, however, you will have to use someone who has less than ideal experience, knowledge or skills. In my opinion in these cases you should try to select an individual who has the intelligence, attitude and above all the willingness to learn how to do the job with help and guidance. This is how people develop and the development of your team should be your conscious aim whenever you delegate. You are looking for someone you can trust. You don’t want to over supervise so you have to believe that person you select will get on with it and have the sense to come to you if he/she is stuck or before he/she makes a bad mistake.

So the final question is, how do you know whom you can trust? The best way, in my experience, is to try people out first on smaller and less important tasks, increasingly giving them more scope so that they learn how far they can go and you can observe how they do it. If they get on well their sense of responsibility and powers of judgement will increase and improve and you will be able to trust them with more demanding and responsible tasks.

To summarize, the critical elements are guidance and development. Delegation not only helps you to get your work done but also it can be to improve your collaborator’s performance and therefore your trust in his/her ability to carry out more responsible work. But don’t forget to give instruction, training and development as part of the process of delegation.

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