The Institute for Management Excellence reports that American industry spends more than $26 billion each year for medical bills and disability payments with another $10 billion for executive’s lost workdays, hospitalization, and early death; most of which can more than likely be attributed to stress.
Americans are working more and resting less. Quarterly layoffs have come to be expected, however lost employees are often never replaced. The redistribution of work adds incremental stress at every level of an organization. One of the ways to not only relieve stress, but to develop and train others, is to delegate tasks and responsibilities.
The mere thought of delegation can be daunting to people with type-A personalities who often think, “If I want it done right, I should just do it myself,” or, “I’ll spend more time fixing errors than I would if I just did it myself.” This may be true for the first few times a task is delegated, however in the long run the employees to whom the tasks have been assigned will learn more and increase their self-confidence for a job well done. Delegating is, ultimately, a win-win situation.
Many individuals who have risen to the upper ranks of an organization can attribute some, if not most, of their success to people who delegated responsibilities to them because they learned new skills and became trustworthy.
Once you’ve identified the act of delegation as a critical success factor, the next steps are to ascertain:
1. Who will do what?
2. When will they do it?
3. To what standard shall the task be completed?
4. Who will be available for questions and feedback?
The goal is not to ‘dump’ on a co-worker or employee, rather to determine the ultimate objectives to be met with which resources and assign tasks accordingly. A leader should always be available for questions or feedback so that the person to whom the tasks have been assigned does not become discouraged vs. empowered or lose self confidence as challenges arise. Equally important is the communication of clear performance standards for follow-up and in order to hold the person responsible.
Dale Carnegie once said, “The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear to do and get a record of successful experiences behind you.” This speaks to the level of accomplishment a person feels after completing a task that when originally assigned, seemed daunting.
On the other hand, he also said, “Many people think that if they were only in some other place, or had some other job, they would be happy. Well, that is doubtful. So get as much happiness out of what you are doing as you can and don’t put off being happy until some future date,” which underscores the need for employees to delegate whatever they can to minimize stress and develop employees.
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Photo Credit: Larry Flynn