When you talk to unhappy employees and ask them what is wrong with their jobs or their relationship with managers, the leading issue is usually poor delegation techniques. In the arts and non-profits we are often working as managers having no business training in supervisory management and as employees we are working with bosses who may be wonderful in their fields but don't know the first thing about managing people.
Why do so many managers fear and avoid delegation?
# 1. Fear of loss of control.The inexperienced and insecure manager is afraid that if they don't do everything themselves things will spin out of control and they will lose authority to shape projects. Let's examine this fear:
- If you recognize this as your own fear as a manager, remember that you have the power to require employees to check in with you, report progress, and you can set the schedule for completion of stages in a project to build in time for edits and tweaks you feel are needed.
- Delegate from a sense of your own power and your fears will fade
# 2. Fear/Dislike of employees stealing credit or sharing the limelight.Let's look hard at this fear:
- Just as your organizations failures ultimately reflect on you as a manager, so do the successes
- A part of maturing as a manager and human being is learning to enjoy your new role as a mentor to a new crop of professionals. Their successes are your successes.
- If an employee truly tries to steal credit or becomes unduly competitive, that is a separate issue that you can deal with, ultimately you have the power to fire them so why be bothered by small expressions of ego?
#3. Don't feel you have time to teach employees how to do the delegated work or supervise them:
- If you are feeling time crunched, only effective delegation will get work off your desk so a small hump of extra work will pay off in the long run
- Part of delegating the task can be assigning the employee to job-shadow, read, take a course, do online tutorials to acquire skills. You don' t have to take on all the training yourself.
- While a lot of supervision might be needed the first time an employee takes on a job, it will decrease markedly the next time.
- Delegation and supervision IS your job as a manager. Likely all the work on your desk is really not your job and needs to be delegated.
#4 Worry that your employees will make mistakes, use methods you don't approve of, generally goof up something.
- Employees will make mistakes and that is a part of learning.
- Planning for training and supervision and scheduling to allow for error correction is part of your job as a manager and part of your effective delegation strategy.