When you’re stressed out and operating below-par due to overwork, handing tasks to other people sounds like the obvious answer – but it has to be done right.
Delegating is a skill, perhaps even an artform, because it is such a delicate matter. You might get called out for believing that handing work to someone else is an act of generosity, but it is healthy to try to think about it in these terms.
What does generosity mean when it comes to delegating? Generosity of trust. Generosity of opportunity. Generosity of investment.
Many managers fail to delegate as much as they think they should, because they lack a sense of generosity in these areas. They look at their colleagues and they think: ‘these guys will not complete this task well. They’ll mess it up. I’d do it better.’ No matter how good your intentions, that’s not a very generous spirit.
(As a side-note, it’s also quite likely that you’re wrong: the majority of us have a slight tendency to assume that we are more skilled or knowledgeable than our colleagues would rate us. It’s called self-enhancement bias.)
A more wholesome and mindful approach is to look at the potential and the ambitions of your employees and utilize your work imbalance to help them find more fulfilment in their work. Give them a chance to prove themselves by trusting them with increasing responsibility (and increasing compensation via raises or benefits as appropriate).
If they’re not up to a task that you would like to pass to them, offer training and development opportunities to bring them up to scratch. This way, you get a stronger, more versatile team, and get to make the most of the dormant potential in your office. And they get to work on their professional skills each day, improve their own prospects, and enjoy the trust and reward of new challenges.
This new guide to delegating better comes packed with ideas on how to realign your mindset, trust your colleagues, and deal more artfully with overwork. There’s also a set of digital posters with easy-to-remember slogans that can help you improve your habits.