Sales leaders, and executives who manage revenue producers, often have to delegate tasks to individuals within their team. Sometimes that team extends to marketing staff, sales support, or administration roles.
A quick quiz
If you are a busy manager with a task that must be completed, and that task could be done by another on your team, which option do you take?
- Do the task yourself, because it’s quicker than showing someone else
- Do the task yourself, because you are a control freak (and nobody else really does it the same way you do, do they?)
- Do it yourself, because both the above apply
- Pass the task on to a team member, leaving it up to them to determine when, how, if they get it done
- Delegate the task to a team member, providing clarity for them (and you) of what is expected
- Leave the task on your own to-do list, because you WILL get around to it… soon
Joking aside, if you selected option #5 you get top marks.
However, many managers don’t fully understand what it means to delegate a task.
Delegating is not:
- Giving up all control
- Leaving it to the whim of the delegatee
- Abdicating your responsibility for the task
- A quick answer when you are pressed for time
The official definition of “Delegate” is:
- To give (duties, powers etc) to another as representative.
- A person chosen to act for another or others.
Delegating = Professional Development
The act of delegating a task/project is also a Professional Development opportunity for both the delegator and the delegatee.
The delegator gets experience in:
- Being tactful and respectful
- Listening deeply
- Coaching team members
- Providing constructive feedback to delegatees
The delegatee gets the opportunity to:
- Apply their own insights, thinking through the task/solution
- Take the initiative with their actions
- Feel responsible for the outcome
- Earn respect from the delegator
How to delegate
Delegation is part of helping your team to grow. As the manager you need to have a vision of what you would like to see change. You need to understand your team and who needs improvement in which areas. So when the time comes to complete a task you can delegate a suitable task to the right person.
Steps to effective delegation:
- Provide a clear understanding of the desired results, not the exact procedure to follow.
- Give a clear sense of what level of initiative the delegatee has, for example:
a) Wait until told before acting
b) Make a recommendation for action
c) Do it and report immediately
d) Do it and report periodically (at another time)
- Clarify assumptions regarding the task such as what, who, when, resources.
- Provide the delegatee with as much time, resource and access to you as possible (within the required time frame of the business).
- Set a time and place for presenting and reviewing the completed work, for example, set a time for the draft solution to be presented in advance of when the final deadline is.
- Give praise and specific feedback to help the delegatee improve. Feedback can cover the quality of work, the approach/method used, timeliness, the level of creativity shown, interaction with colleagues, and things to consider doing differently next time.
Delegation and time management
Managers and sales leaders rarely have time to relax, put their feet up on the desk, and consider future options. Usually it’s ‘all hands to the wheel’ all of the time, getting things done and reacting to day-to-day situations.
And that’s exactly why delegating effectively (following the steps above) is such a boost for time management.
The process of delegating requires you to discuss priorities and assumptions with the delegatee. In doing that you may uncover assumptions, or unknown activities, that will impact upon the ability to complete the task on schedule.
In this way you can manage within the bounds of reality, rather than expecting too much of others without full knowledge of what the delegated task will entail for them.
One of the tenets of effective time management (which I prefer to call ‘self management’, instead of time management) is to think before reacting. To prioritise the ‘important’ over the purely ‘urgent’ tasks that may not be so important.
So the process of delegating effectively can help you and your team:
- Work on true priorities
- Avoid unnecessary time pressures
- Be more proactive
- Be more productive
- Improve communications
- Improve morale
- Develop trust
If you have any other suggestions on delegating effectively or the benefits for time management leave a comment to let me know.