Delegating work effectively is consistently listed as a skill managers say they’d like to improve. While passing off tasks to your team is a critical skill, there are certain things that managers should never, ever delegate.
Because the tasks that managers shouldn’t pass off tends to be less concrete than specific projects (“Can you draft a summary of what was covered at our wellness seminar and send it to everybody?”), managers often thinks it’s OK to let others take over. But as the Laura Stack, the president and CEO of consulting firm The Productivity Pro, Inc., points out that’s a huge mistake.
Here are three duties Stack says great managers should never delegate:
1. The recruiting process
If there’s a skilled, effective hiring team in place, it’s tempting to take a more hands off approach to recruiting and hiring new staffers. But managers are ultimately responsible for creating the most effective teams. So whether managers are in charge of the entire HR department or overseeing a specific group within that department (e.g., the Benefits staff), they should always be very involved in the recruiting and hiring process.
2. Recognition and rewards
Even if managers aren’t directly supervising the deserving staffers on their teams, they should still take the lead when it comes to recognizing stand-out performances. Whenever possible, supervisors should also include incentives and reward with this recognition.
On the other end of the spectrum, managers should always handle any discipline that’s needed. When managers hand off unwanted tasks such as setting up a corrective action plan, suspending problem workers or even terminations, it sends the wrong message to their teams and often creates distrust for the person in charge.
How to do it right
When it comes to work managers should be delegating, there are certain ways to make the process more efficient.
Here’s a four-step strategy that makes the process much easier:
Break down the tasks
Managers should start by writing down all of the tasks they’re assigned. From there, they can identify which of these are essential and which ones, when delegated, would free up the most time.
In many cases, managers will keep certain tasks simply because they enjoy doing them. So it’s critical for supervisors to be brutally honest about how necessary each and every task is during this phase.
Select the right staffer
Once the list of tasks has been created, it’s time to identify who will be best-suited to take the reins. A few questions that can help:
- does he or she have an interest?
- can it be handled with the employee’s current workload?
Determine the amount
After selecting the tasks that are going to be passed along, it’s time to decide the amount of work that’s going to be done by that worker.
Remember: The entire task doesn’t have to be delegated; employees can do certain elements now and learn other parts later on. Or, a single task can be divided among a number of workers.
When the task has officially been handed off, it’s critical for managers to step back and let the employee (or employees) do the work in the way he or she sees fit.
Finally, if you’re wondering just how effective you are at delegating work to your staffers, take this 12-question quiz to find out.