The profile of a 'Complete' Manager
The Complete Manager 4 of 14: Delegation
We're continuing our examination of the profile of a 'complete' manager - one who daily achieves Predictable Success® for herself, her team, and the organization she works for.
In the previous articles in the series, we first took a bird's eye view of what a Complete Manager is, then started our detailed review of the 14 characteristics, beginning with time management, priority Management and crisis management.
(If you want to follow along the connections between the 14 characteristics, you can download a copy of the Complete Manager Brain Map - a pdf version of the graphic at top right).
You can track the series using this progress bar:
'If you give me a lever and a place to stand, I can move the world'
Archimedes may have being talking about the power of the fulcrum in physics, but he pretty much nailed the importance of delegation for the Complete Manager.
Trying to get things done as a manager without using delegation is like trying to move a giant object without a lever - it may be possible, but it's incredibly inefficient, and you run the risk of looking like a crazy person.
Using effective delegation is the quickest way to get more out of less - to use a hackneyed phrase, delegating to your team really does make 2 + 2 =[some number more than 4]. Not delegating simply makes you the bottleneck for everything that you and your team are trying to achieve - nothing can move faster than your personal processing speed.
Why managers don't delegate
It may seem that the argument for effective delegation is pretty insurmountable - and yet, a surprisingly high percentage of managers either don't delegate at all, or do so incredibly ineffectively - mostly for one of these reasons:
- Lack of a time and priority management infrastructure
- Belief that no-one else can 'do it as well as I can'
- Sense of identity tied to skills display
- Fear of delegating away their job
- Lack of trust in their team's ability
1. Lack of a time and priority management infrastructure
We've already looked at the need for these in detail in two previous articles (here and here), so we'll not revisit them now.
If you've read the previous articles in this series, it should be clear by now that unless you have a robust system for planning your time and your priorities, everything else will eventually begin to cave in - and this includes delegation.
Effective delegation requires time and focus - drowning in existing inefficiency becomes a vicious circle: you're too swamped to effectively delegate, so you have more to do than you should, so you drown even more...
2. "No-one else can do it as well as I can"
Oh yea? Let's examine this statement: Either you're right, in which case you need to seriously look at your hiring processes, because you sure as heck have done a terrible job so far, or you're wrong, in which case you have a group of entirely competent team members who are becoming increasingly frustrated with the black hole that you're generating around yourself.
The reality is that this statement is usually a cover for the manager's fear of making mistakes. Convinced that if something goes wrong the world will end, this manager tries to avoid mistakes by doing everything themselves, or worse, theoretically 'delegating' only to obsessively micro-manage everything the team member does, and usually re-doing it in the end themselves anyway.
"It's quicker for me to do it myself than to show someone how to do it"
Many managers justify not delegating to others with a statement similar to the one above.
This is usually a result of a combination of the two underlying reasons we've already looked at: lack of a personal management infrastructure together with a fear of mistakes being made. But it adds a third, more insidious element: A lack of understanding of two vital aspects of the role of a manager:
1. A manager is working for results in the medium and long term, not just the short term. Sure, it takes two hours to show a team member how to make, say, a discretionary decision about customer discounts, but you save 15 minutes every single working day from then on, by not having to make every customer discount decision yourself.
2. It's the job of the manager to coach and develop her team members. By not taking that two hours, you're not just adding 15 minutes to your work day for the rest of your life, you're demotivating (and eventually losing) a valued team member who is looking to you for coaching and personal development.
3. Sense of identity tied to skills display
Some managers don't delegate simply because they believe it makes them look better to be the one who is 'doing stuff'.
This type of manager believes that having an effective, high-performing team somehow robs them of personal glory and credit, and that it's important for them to be 'the man in the big picture' (a nice phrase from my Northern Irish childhood).
This attitude is closely related to the 'firefighter' style of management, where the manager's self-image is tied to 'fixing things,', and is therefore constantly running from crisis to crisis.
This type of management style is toxic, and often needs coaching or counseling to make a real change in the managers style. Unfortunately in my experience, the failure rate in attempting to change is management style is high. Such managers often just move from position to position, never changing their underlying attitudes.
Couple this with a 'kiss-up, kick-down' attitude, and a highly manipulative manager can wreak havoc with team morale, all the time appearing benign to his managers.
Delegation can be taught!
In The Predictable Success® Complete Manager Program
we encourage (and assist) participating managers to develop their own triage protocols that provide them with clear guidelines that can be used in any situation, to establish an appropriate response.
The next launch date for the Program is June 1st. If you would like to enquire about The Predictable Success® Complete Manager Program for yourself or your managers (or make a no-obligation pre-registration), just use this simple form and we'll get back to you with the details.
4. Fear of delegating away their job.
If I successfully delegate to my team, what will I do?
This fear is particularly prevalent in (though not restricted to) organizations that have hit 'Bureaucracy' - where some jobs are unnecessary and there's lots of fat in the organization. Unfortunately it's also an attitude that a new manager in a growing organization can fall prone to - simply because they don't understand the hidden secret of effective management:Only do what only you can do.
A manager should be devoting his time to those things that only he can deliver: planning, assessing performance and mentoring and coaching. The manager who understands this will be aggressively delegating just to free up the time to do these things. The manager who doesn't understand this, fails to delegate so that they will have 'stuff to do' to fill their time.
5 Questions to help self-diagnose your delegation skills
Of course, there are many questions one could ask to determine if a manager is struggling with their delegation skills, but here are the five most common indicators that a manager either is or is not maximizing the benefits of delegating to their team:
Members: click here
to download a workbook containing these and other questions covering all 14 Complete Manager key skills
If two or more answers are in the 'Never' or 'Sometimes' columns, consider getting help. If three or more answers are in the 'Never' or 'Sometimes' columns, don't consider not getting help!
Next up: In the next article, we'll move into the second category of key skills for the Complete Manager: Developing Others.
Do You Want to Be a Complete Manager?
Do You Want Your Team to Be Complete Managers?
Then pre-register for our upcoming Complete Manager Program - a distance learning program based on all 14 'Complete Manager' characteristics. The next program launches on June 1st.
There's no obligation whatsoever in pre-registering, and the Program is open to members and non-members alike (although members will receive a discount on the Program registration fee (which we haven't set yet). Just complete this simple form and hit 'Submit':
|Pre-Registration Inquiry: The Predictable Success® Complete Manager Program|
|Yes - please send me more information on The Predictable Success® Complete Manager Program. I understand I am under no obligation by requesting this information, and that you will not add my details to any other list, or contact me about any other product or service, unless I request it.|