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How to delegate effectively: 5 tips for managers

By | Dr Pavan Soni | IIM-B Innovation Evangelist

Delegation is often considered the bottleneck for one’s own and organisational growth. In fact, Richard Branson identifies delegation as one of the key skills any entrepreneur must master. And yet, effective delegation is arguably one of the most difficult tasks for emerging leaders. As the leadership coach Marshall Goldsmith notes “Inappropriate delegation can kill. Kill morale, careers, and even a company.” One must, however, understand that effective delegation is not just limited to the corporate milieu but has relevance in the personal sphere as well. Think about how much you could relegate your housework while working from home. Whether you are a first-time manager or a seasoned one, you can learn a lot from these simple, time-tested practices of delegation. So, here we go.

Don’t personalise your work too much

When you are getting the work done, what should you expect: (A) the work must be done, or B) work must be done as per your standards? While most of you would want A, many would secretly desire B. But who defines your standards? You. And often you put so much personality in your work that you make it inscrutable and that’s where it remains stuck with you. You neither move up the value chain nor allow others to.

Remember, the objective is to get the work done and ‘your’ standards are mostly arbitrary. You must standardise the work, thereby making it predictable, reliable, and scalable. Look at how software development crossed borders, languages, and organisations against the backdrop of standardisation. By keeping the definition of your work simple you not only can delegate it but also automate it, thereby freeing up a lot more time for everybody concerned. Next comes the question of ‘whom’.

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