delegating effectively

Delegating Effectively as a Manager

The Solution to Delegating Effectively as a Manager – Monkey Management?

Delegating Effectively is one of the biggest challenges managers have always faced. How do you assign a job to the right person or team? How difficult is it to give up control and let someone else handle a particular task without interfering?

We tend to think of the ability to delegating effectively as a personal attribute – some people are good at it, others not so. Its effective use is quite nuanced. The good news is that delegation as a skill can be developed and improved once the right approach and training are incorporated.

How to Improve Delegation Skills

Part of delegating effectively is about your state of mind and having a better understanding of your workforce. New managers can find it more difficult because they are less experienced and tend to depend, quite naturally, on their own abilities a little too much.

Increasing workloads and priorities can lead to more delegation but getting it right requires a manager to have certain important components in place, both at a personal and operational level.

Letting Go

High up on the list if you talk to experienced managers is learning to let go. It’s not always easy but something that has to be developed and generally comes with time. If you’re not good at delegating then start small. Give bite size tasks away to other people. You’ll find that the world doesn’t end and the work gets done just as efficiently and productivity isn’t hampered.

Knowing Your Team

Part of this is about having confidence in your team and you can’t develop that if you don’t get to know them more deeply. Everyone will have their own strengths and weaknesses and the better understanding you have of these, the more confidently and successfully you’ll be able to delegate.

Categorise Tasks

There’s no doubt that you’ll have a range of tasks that need to be completed in any team. The better you can categorise these, the easier you’ll find it to delegate within your team. There will be highly skilled tasks as well less skilled ones. Delegating a low skill job that requires a lot of effort will release up your time considerably.

Give Clear Instructions

When you are delegating, it’s important to make sure an employee understands what you are asking of them, how you want the job completed and when you need it delivered by. This is one proactive strategy that managers can get wrong so it’s worth paying closer attention to how you explain and deliver any instructions.

Raise the Skill Level

Another option which leads to better and more confident delegation is making sure that your staff have the skills they need. If they don’t, either inhouse training or external courses can deliver this. It’s something that makes employees feel valued and is likely to increase their loyalty and productivity.

What Does Monkey Management Mean?

One problem that can occur in any business or team structure is tasks moving upwards. Delegating effectively is a two way process and you may get employees moving things onto your desk, intentionally or not, rather than dealing with it themselves.

Monkey management is essentially putting in the processes that reduce the likelihood of this happening. In simple terms, you want to make it easier for staff to manage the monkey on their back and not pass it onto you, something that will eat into your own time.

There is a set process for doing this:

  • Describing the monkey: You have to understand what the issue is and clearly define what the next move is going to be.
  • Assigning the monkey: It needs to go back to the lowest level of employee who is able to deal with it (sometimes that will be you, most often it won’t).
  • Insuring the monkey: You can’t leave the monkey with that employee or team without having insurance. That means you need one of two strategies: a) recommend, then act or b) act, then advise.
  • Following up the monkey: Finally you need to follow up to ensure that the monkey has been handled and the next step put into operation. In other words, the situation has been resolved and you can move on.

Getting employees to manage their own monkeys not only takes the pressure of you as a manager but also means that they gain the confidence to handle issues such as this. That in turn should make delegation easier in the future.

If you would like to develop your delegation skills, maybe consider studying an online management course with Sussex Business School. Contact us today!


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