Czech managers are in many cases a unique species that revels in control, understands their field, knows exactly what they are doing, but has a panicky fear of delegation. For them, the role of a manager means that they have to take care of everything all by themselves, because everyone around them is incompetent and would at best miss the job, at worse mess it up. Do you recognise yourself in this definition?
In that case, you are lucky to have come across this article. It explains that delegating work really isn't a deadly disease that will destroy your business. On the contrary, it's a necessary part of making it work if you don't want to burn out in a few months.
Doubts about other people's abilities have probably been with us since school, when we remember group projects in which one person usually did everything and the others just went along for the ride. The idea that the group leader might get sick meant that the project failed and everyone got an F.
But we're not in school now.
If you're used to doing everything yourself because you know your subordinates wouldn't do as good a job, delegating work will be a big challenge for you but one you'll have to overcome.
Think about it. As part of your role as a manager, you already divide the work among your subordinates. You do it based on their specialisation, skills and experience. You don't have a problem with that, so what are you so worried about if you give them some of your work?
As a manager, you need to think about which tasks are specific to the manager's role (requiring you to do them alone) and which you can delegate to a subordinate because they have the competence to do so.
If your employees aren't used to being delegated tasks, they're likely to be caught off guard when you get sick or go on vacation and some of your agenda falls on them. Chances are they will fail because they are not used to this approach and you will just reinforce that you can't delegate anything to anyone. That needs to change.
So not only do you need to stop being afraid of delegation and learn to delegate yourself, but your subordinates need to get used to being delegated to from time to time. You could say that you "educate" your subordinates to delegate.
Therefore, the best way is to slowly delegate tasks that may not be as important, but will make your job easier and help employees learn to take responsibility. You can then review the task, provide feedback from which the person will learn, do a better job next time, and you can then escalate the difficulty of the task. It may not make the job easier at first, but it will certainly pay off over time.
Then, when the time comes when you want to go on holiday, are ill or just absolutely can't keep up, you can delegate the work to your team with peace of mind, knowing that they've done things successfully for you in the past and that you can rely on them.
You must have failed many times on your way to success, learned from it and moved on. But when someone else fails, you take it as a sign of inability to accomplish the task at hand and are afraid to delegate anything to them. Yes, there are exceptional cases where this may be the case. But always think about the reasons for failure first. Was it a lack of information? Does the person have little experience yet, but has he or she tried? Or did he act in a totally illogical way and fail on all fronts?
If lack of experience is the cause, again, you have to delegate tasks to the person on a regular basis to give them a chance to gain experience. The lack of information is a mistake on your part because you didn't pass it on. So, in short, failure is not always a sign that the person is incompetent. It is only when he fails repeatedly for irrelevant reasons that you know he is not the right person for your team.
And here we are at the next important point, which is the composition of the team. Of course, you can't do without skilled people by your side. If you're surrounded by people you don't trust and wouldn't trust with any of your tasks, think again. The fault may lie with you - in the sense that you have such an ingrained distrust in the abilities of others that you no longer trust anyone at all. Therefore, try delegating easier tasks to those involved, as we mentioned above, and build trust in yourself in the abilities of others.
But of course, the mistake can also be in the composition of the team. You should always have at least a few subordinates that you know you can rely on and delegate your work to. If you don't have that feeling, it's probably a good time to replace team members.
→ Interesting fact: Sometimes the personality and character of the people you delegate to is more important than their previous experience with the task. Because they can get that, and if they're passionate about the work and willing to learn, they might do a better job than you'd think.
There are a few points to follow when delegating:
1. Choose the right person for the task
We discussed this in the previous point. It is a good idea to delegate more complex tasks to someone you trust and who already has the necessary experience. On the easier ones, feel free to "educate" people to take responsibility. When you know the task is in good hands, you don't need to worry.
Always tell the person who they can contact for help if they are unsure about a task.
2. Communicate clearly and provide maximum information
Your subordinate can't see inside your head and if he doesn't get the maximum instructions, it's not his fault that he can't complete the task. Therefore, when delegating, always make it clear what you expect from him, provide him with all the necessary resources and make sure he understands what the output is supposed to be.
3. Have a clear plan
Before you delegate a task, you should have a clear idea of what the task is intended to achieve. If you don't have a specific idea of the output, you need to know what you are trying to achieve.
4. Follow the procedure
If possible, keep track of how the task is progressing. By checking continuously, you will ensure that the task hasn't gone somewhere it shouldn't have and that everything is going as it should. You can catch any partial deficiencies at the outset. Subordinates will learn to perform tasks better and become more independent over time, and you won't have to worry about delegating tasks to them even if you're not able to do partial checks.
5. Motivate and praise
If you are satisfied with the output or partial results, let the people concerned know. This will motivate them to do their best work and not dread the next task.
Delegation is by no means something to be ashamed of. Playing the superman who can do everything himself will lead to no free time and unhealthy overwork. Learn to think of delegation as a managerial mindset, and when you're already thinking of tasks, work out in your head who could take on what part of the task.
Of course, this does not mean that you are easily replaceable. There are still tasks for which you are essential. But delegating is kind of one of them. Think of it as your job, surround yourself with reliable people you can teach to take responsibility, and you'll never be afraid of delegating again. On the contrary, you will love it because it means less stress and more free time for you.