"What separate those who achieve from those who do not is in direct proportion to one's ability to ask for help". - Donald Keough, former President of Coco-Cola
Who determines the management skills imperative for success, the managers, the management or an individual's inherent talent and abilities? History and the experience of great leaders show it's the skills and talent of an individual.
A critical issue often ignored when calculating success is delegation. Delegation is rightly called the fundamental of management skills, a prerequisite to lead a successful personal and professional life.
Delegation is the ability to effectively assign the responsibility and authority of a task to another person or group of people. It defines the fundamental skill of a manager, the ability to get work done.
It's fait accompli that managers rarely understand this 'critical skill' or practice it. This 'delegation deficiency' must be cured if managers wish to succeed.
Business owners or managers are responsible for various activities related to their business. These activities may require a lot more time than they can afford, hindering professional growth. Hence, the need to delegate.
For instance, Brad a recently promoted accounts manager of a company was well versed in all account related tasks and considered a master of all work. This actually proved a disadvantageous. Brad never found time to perform his new managerial tasks. He was always engrossed in resolving the less important issues of his subordinates, his earlier peers.
Only after a coaching session with his senior did Brad realise that his ready acceptance of his subordinates' duties stunted both his and their growth.
To be efficient managers must cure the deficiency of delegation.
Before delegating, the manager must ensure that the employee is trained for the task. For appropriate training, the strengths and weakness of the person and the personality need consideration. Thus, managers should be sensitive to the talents and skills of the person.
Information: The basic guidelines while delegating work is the information necessary for the delegatee to execute the work. The resources necessary must be planned. Managers must provide their delegatees (the person accepting the work) the basic guidelines and necessary information to execute the work.
Empowerment is necessary for effective delegation. Once the work is delegated, the delegatee must be given the autonomy to execute the job. This will heighten not only the interest of the employee and realisation of satisfaction but also success.
Delegation relates to the responsibility of the work not the work itself. 'Too many cooks spoil the broth', so does delegation of the same work to too many people. In delegation the results accomplished and the not the process followed are important.
However, tasks that depend heavily on intricate technologies, may stress on the approach adopted to accomplish them. The delegatee must have the liberty to exercise his initiatives.
Lack of dialogue between the managers and the delegatee may lead to confusion and waste of resources. A frank discussion of the problem / task may help formulate a quick and better plan for the execution.
I am there!
The delegatee may come up with his own way of work and get confused at times. The manager's support is crucial at such times. This boosts the employee's confidence in himself and in the superior.
During the discussions, managers must help resolve the problems and encourage the delegatee to share his views.
Ensuring the employee's accountability is manager's responsibility. He must get a regular update of the progress of the work delegated.
The delegatee may be empowered when the manager is able to execute the work perfectly. Manager's guidance should not prove to be a roadblock in the execution of the work. Interference may hinder progress of the work and may not yield the desired outcomes.
Rewards and recognition ought to be given to the person for achieving the set goal. The credit of an unsuccessful project ought to be shared by the manager. They must consider mistakes as an investment.
Taking the credit...
Dr. Abdul Kalam was the Mission director for India's first satellite launch vehicle project. But the project was a failure in its first attempt. Prof.Satish Dhawan of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) organised a press meet and announced " Friends, today we had our first Satellite launch vehicle to put satellite in the orbit, we could not succeed. It is our first mission of proving multiple technologies in satellite and satellite launch vehicles. In many technologies we have succeeded and a few more we have to succeed, above all I realise my team members have to be given all the technological support. I am going to do that and the next mission will succeed".
After the success of the mission in the second attempt a similar press conference was organised and Dr. Abdul Kalam addressed the conference to announce the mission's success. Dr Kalam rightly pointed out that-
"When success comes in after hard work the leader should give the credit for the success to the team members. When failure comes the leaders should absorb the failures and protect the team members".
"There will be failure in a system, failure in a project, failure in the procurement action or failure in the administrative action even failure in the political system. It is vital to protect the team immediately after a failure from the onslaught effect of failures. We should celebrate the success of individuals and team equally".
A win -win situation provides better scope for learning, helps the delegatee acquire new skills and explore new avenues and solutions. Above all it saves time and resources.
Resistance to change is a common phenomenon. Resistance could arise from:
Organisations' culture is built over years of effort. Lack of a proactive culture hinders effective delegation. The manager should install a culture that appreciates the significance of delegation. Employees must realise that delegation of work is both a learning experience and a growth opportunity.
Reverse delegation may take place where the employee may intelligently pass on the job sighting ignorance as a reason. Subordinates' rejection of responsibility may be due to lack of trust in the superior, lack of confidence in himself and the superior or lack of interest in the activity assigned besides lack of understanding of the process.
Managers can avert such situations by building a friendly and informal rapport with their subordinates. Regular interaction and building up employee confidence by acknowledging their contribution to various activities other than his basic duties. This installs confidence in the employee and encourages him. Tough tasks could be delegated upon successful completion of simple tasks. The step-by-step process builds employee creativity and enthusiasm.
Employees must be encouraged to think positively. With superiors' support and skills and knowledge combined with rewards and recognition employees can develop positive thinking.
Further... The process of delegation thus requires managers to understand the need for it and master the art and foster professional growth. Through effective delegation managers can cultivate a work environment that develops future leaders, time essential for execution of critical tasks and for planning of new projects. Above all it creates a motivated workforce.