Five Frogs

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Learning how to delegate to get more done

In a previous article, I outlined the Leadership and Management technique of the Four D’s when prioritising your work tasks – Do them now, Do them later, Dump them or Delegate them.

Now for a riddle!

If there are five frogs sitting on a log and four of them decide to jump off, how many are still on the log?

Five – because it’s one thing to decide to do something and another thing to actually do it!

In terms of the four D’s this move from decision to doing, can be the difference between good intention and actual achievement. And it is especially hard to ‘take the leap’ in the realm of delegation. Because when you’re delegating you’re not just working with yourself, you have another individual as part of the equation.

Remember, the reason to delegate is so that you’re not wasting time doing things that somebody else can do, especially if they can do them better than you. This saves your time for those things which you are uniquely qualified to do.

So, here are some tips on delegating from the BSB51915 Diploma of Leadership and Management.

The five levels of delegation

You must find ways to delegate, no matter what your position is. Learn to clearly define who is to do what and let go. Once you have done this, the next step is to determine how to delegate.

In The Creative Edge, author William C. Miller defines five levels of delegation:

  • Tell: “Based on my decision, here’s what I want you to do.”
  • Sell: “Based on my decision, here’s what I want you to do, because…”
  • Consult: “Before I make a decision, I want your input.”
  • Participate: “We need to make a decision together.”
  • Delegate: “You make a decision.”

Depending on the situation, each of these can have merit. In team based environments, consultation and participation can be highly beneficial and well accepted. Where things need to get done quickly or in emergency scenarios, tell, sell and delegate are appropriate.

The 5 steps to delegation

There are five steps to the delegation process:

  • Explain why the job is important.
  • Describe what is needed in terms of results (not how, but what).
  • Give the person the authority and resources they need to do the job.
  • Indicate when the job needs to be completed and get agreement.
  • Ask for feedback to ensure a common understanding.

When you don’t delegate you end up doing everything yourself. You become caught up in day-to-day tasks and don’t have time to devote to managing – thinking, planning, communicating etc.

Common Excuses for Not Delegating

  • I can’t afford to have my staff make a mistake for which I am responsible
  • I don’t have anyone who can take the responsibility for work like this
  • I don’t have the time to train someone how to do this task
  • I don’t want people thinking I’m lazy or just passing the buck
  • I enjoy this task – and I don’t intend to turn it over to a team member even though they can handle it
  • I got where I am today doing this type of work and I don’t plan to stop now
  • It’s my job and it’s my responsibility to do it
  • It’s quicker and easier to do this job myself so why bother delegating it?
  • My people are all busy and don’t have time for extra work
  • When everyone can do my job, my value to the organisation disappears!
  • When you want a job done well you must do it yourself

Have you used any of these excuses?

Australis College provides a variety of business and management programs aimed at providing individuals and businesses with the knowledge, skills and tools to make a positive impact in their job roles, careers and personal lives. The information in this article is from the BSB51915 Diploma of Leadership and Management. For more information on Australis and our programs please visit our website by clicking here for more information and to get started today.