In the early stages of management, because of inexperience, delegation is mostly trial and error. As you build your capabilities, you will find out how to be effective and which systems to use. It all begins with choosing the right person for the job. One must resist the temptation to grab the first available person, the easiest to find, the most willing. There will be times when a very quick decision must be made, but even then there is a way to pick someone suitable. In these situations, close monitoring is necessary.
Objectivity plays an important role in delegation. You shouldn’t base your decision on irrelevant factors, such as influence from others, past experiences, assumptions and the like. Just because the person is your bosses’ favorite does not necessarily make them the best candidate for the project.
Over time, you will develop your own systems for analyzing the person, the task and the situation needing delegation. You will need to use job descriptions to help analyze and match skills and experience to task, and, in the event that no ideal match exists, compromise is often necessary.
Ultimately, you have to option not to delegate, of course, if there is simply no one that closely matches your needs, or if your group is either overloaded or in conflict. Worse case scenario is that you’ll just have to do it yourself.
Staff Attributes to Consider:
Does the candidate work well with others?
What level of supervision will be needed?
Does the candidate make good decisions?
- Is the candidate good with analytical processes, details, and organization? When given a detail-oriented task, such as constructing a database or putting together a statistical analysis of data for a project, this person will excel.
- Is the candidate project-oriented, systematic and good at follow-through? This person will have the skills to coordinate vendors or other workers in the process of monitoring work flow, and will check processes to make sure they are online and completed.
- Is the candidate a visionary, a good leader, good at getting others to follow? Teams need leaders, and this person has the capability to head up a special projects team, or multi-purpose team.
- Is the person’s attitude a good fit for the task? The more difficult and complex tasks, and those that have close deadlines need an individual that has a ‘do whatever it takes’ attitude.
- Does the candidate have initiative, or need motivation? When you assign a task, you need to be able to back away and let them work, otherwise, you accomplish nothing by delegating to them, if you are trying to lighten your load.
- How quickly does the candidate adapt, learn, and understand? For those mis-matched projects that you don’t have an exact fit, this person can quickly get ready and on-board.
- Is the candidate dependable? Can you count on this employee? If not, do you need them?
Other factors to consider
- What skills and experience does the candidate possess, and do they fit the need of the project?
- What additional training may the project require? Do you have a fit?
- Are there training opportunities? You may be able to create an opportunity to train new personnel or cross-train the more experienced ones.
- What is the general staff workload? Overloading your team members will only accomplish a decrease in morale and an increase in the level of frustration.
- What is the stress level of the candidate? Pile it on, burn ‘em out. Too many tasks can do the same to your people that it does to you. Pick someone else or no one.
Many factors must be considered in the process of delegation. This is probably one of the reasons many supervisors just do it themselves, not taking into account the long-term value of allowing others to help and participate in the success of the team.