Delegation Start Small

Delegating tasks to employees can be a daunting task for a manager, especially one new to management and the role of being a manager. The ultimate responsibility for any failures by the team to achieve desired results will rest with the manager, even if they delegated the whole task out to someone else and were not directly responsible for making any errors. For this reason, many managers are extremely reluctant to delegate work out, particularly important tasks for which the successful or failed completion/accuracy of will have a great effect on the business. The more important the work, the more likely it is that the manager will try to do it all themselves so that they stay in complete control of it.

However, if the manager tries to do too much of the work themselves, they may rush it, make mistakes and/or do a poor job, which is somewhat ironic as this was the very situation that they were trying to avoid by not delegating it to others! So in some ways, if this is the likely result, the manager has very little to lose anyway by delegating it out.

Where many managers who are wary of delegating make the mistake is delegating indiscriminately and giving tasks of different sizes and different importance to their employees at random. Whilst the manager may be nervous about delegating, the employee themselves is also likely to be worried about messing things up and making mistakes, so for both parties it is best if the first tasks that are delegated are small and unlikely to create too much of a problem if a mistake is made. By doing this, the manager can then carefully assess how the employee is performing, and whether they can cope with bigger or more pressurised responsibilities. It is important that workers are given increasingly important tasks though if they have proven themselves to be able to handle everything they have been given up to now, otherwise they may begin to feel like the manager does not trust them enough to be let loose on work of greater importance. For those who have reached a limit with what they can cope with, they will probably be relieved not to be given more intense assignments. Knowing which employees are struggling and which want more is a management skill which is acquired through a combination of management training courses and experience over the years.

So when it comes to delegation, start small and assess how it goes. Small and steady wins the race.