Managerial Skills – Knowing How To Delegate

Management is a funny occupation. In many cases, you have been doing a job requiring very specific skills and then you are promoted to manage your colleagues. This new management job more often than not requires none of the specialist skills you possess – although having a good understanding of the work being carried out is clearly important – and instead demands that you acquire all sorts of new abilities.
By the same token, there are many people employed in management jobs who cannot do the jobs of their staff. This is okay, as long as they understand the concerns of those people and the issues relevant to the job. Such a situation is actually a pretty good way of explaining how delegation should work.
In many cases, the employee who has been promoted to the management position has been rewarded for their excellent work. Unfortunately, this can often lead to a situation where they do not trust anyone else to do things as well as they themselves can. Even if that is genuinely the case, you cannot step in and do everything. It is counterproductive and it is no longer your job.
A lot of people find it hard to take a step back in the knowledge that a certain task might not be done as well as it could be. The key here is that you have to take responsibility for other people doing their job, you don’t take responsibility for doing that job. It is a subtle difference, but it is the difference between being a good manager and an invasive, meddling one who undermines staff.
Try to do everything yourself and you will quickly burn out. You need to learn to take advantage of other people (in a good way). Different people have different strengths and weaknesses and you must accommodate these people. Find the right person for each task and train people where they are deficient. If work is being completed effectively and reliably, you will emerge looking good. If everything is going so smoothly that it seems like your team doesn’t need you, this probably means that you have done an excellent job.
You can also benefit personally, because you can find yourself with so much expertise on which to draw. If you know when to defer to someone else’s opinion – even when they are a subordinate – then you are a wise manager and will be a boon for your company in years to come.
Helen Hastings is a strong believer in developing good managerial skills.