Joan is a business owner, a former union leader, a business administrator and an adult educator.
Delegate Your Workload
Delegating tasks at work can help create a balanced work-life experience, reduce stress, and promote learning and development for subordinates. If you have ever had a boss or supervisor who came to work promptly at 6 AM and left work at 8 PM, you can probably relate to this topic. I had such a boss. She really didn't have to work that many hours, but she did because she never seemed to be able to manage her workload efficiently. Working long after all employees have gone home may be a sign that you need to delegate more of your workload.
Perhaps the biggest reason for being overworked and feeling overwhelmed is failure to adequately delegate tasks. Sharing the workload makes sense, and it is an essential element of time management that helps enhance your productivity.
The manager or supervisor is free from the performance of sometimes mundane tasks and able to operate more efficiently in the workplace. How much respect do you think employees have for a manager who appears constantly bogged down with work? Not much, I guess. The manager may get some sympathy, but not necessarily respect. Sharing the workload with other competent employees under your supervision ensures you will have more time to achieve your goals in the allotted time.
Tips for Sharing the Workload
To share the work and responsibilities, begin by taking an inventory of all the things you need to accomplish in a day and determine what are some of the things that another employee can do and is willing to do. Plan your day and prioritize your work. This will give you an idea about how much you can actually get done in a given work day.
- Before you delegate tasks to an employee, you must trust that they will be able to accomplish the tasks according to your standards. If you are not sure that you can transfer some of your tasks with confidence, then you need to assess why you feel this way.
- Find out about the skill sets of the employees on staff. You may be surprised at the wealth of qualifications and experience some of your staff have that could contribute significantly to your productivity.
- Seek out competent personnel on your team. Get them on board by asking them how they would like to help out in a specific area, work on a project, or learn some new skills in other areas.
- Show your appreciation. Use the "thank you" phrase generously, and you will always have team members who are willing to help out.
- Communication is key when delegating tasks. Your instructions and expectations must be precise and clear. Let them know that they can always come to you for help if the need arises.
- Positive feedback is an important aspect of delegating once done properly. Giving feedback is a great tool, but you don't want to appear critical and alienate the employee. Begin with the positive aspects of her work and gradually move on to those areas that you feel need some improvement. Be sure to reiterate the point that you are available for support and coaching with issues that may be challenging.
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Why Not Delegate?
Many people admit to having a difficult time delegating tasks. If working on a project, they may see it as theirs and theirs only to complete successfully and, as such, refuse any help.
Reluctance to delegate tasks also has a lot to do with fear of not getting the credit for the job they do. Somehow, it is felt that if someone else is involved, they may steal the accolades that the project the owner is entitled to.
Mistrust also stands in the way of delegating, which means it is essential that you trust the person you delegate to. Micromanagement could be seen as a personality trait among some and another reason why they may not want to delegate tasks.
Doing it all does not allow you to lead a balanced life. Being overworked results in increased stress with the attending health-related problems. The boss mentioned at the beginning of this article never did seek help and continued to do everything herself. She did eventually suffer burnout and was not able to continue in that capacity.
You Are Responsible
Remember, the work you delegate is still your responsibility, so check in to see how the work is progressing and whether additional information or input is required to ensure the tasks are completed in a timely manner and in accordance with your instructions. However, it is important that you resist the urge to micromanage.
Don't Try to Do It All
Delegating makes good business sense, and it should be embraced. Getting help or delegating work is also a great developmental opportunity for your team, and you benefit by gaining a better work-life balance. Even if you can do it all, do you really want to?
© 2019 Joan King