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Learning to delegate

So you’ve just gained that promotion that you have worked hard for. There are a number of areas to consider when taking on a team management role. One of the most challenging is when you take over a team you were once part of and you need to consider what your role as a manager of this team involves.

You may be very familiar with the work area and indeed consider that there are some aspects which you can do better than individual members of the team.  Keeping certain aspects of the teams’ work to yourself is unlikely to endear you to your team members. You will need to be seen as fair when you are delegating work, including not being as having “favourites” within the team. Learning to delegate effectively is a skill which you should work on developing as soon as you take up your role. There are three areas to consider when delegating work to team members:

  • Can the task/activity be clearly explained including key deadlines etc?
  • Which person in your team has the knowledge, skills and abilities to carry out the task?
  • Who can fit it into their work schedule?

If there isn’t one person who can meet all these criteria then you have some choices to make:

  • Can someone take it on and one of their other tasks be re-prioritised?
  • Is there someone in the team who would benefit from taking on the task to help further their own skill development? What additional support might they need from you?
  • Is the task so unclear that it will be difficult for anyone to do? Do you need to clarify with your own manager what is required?

Managing the work of your team is a key priority for you and you will need to review task/activity allocation on a regular basis to ensure your team is clear about their priorities and objectives and have a chance to develop and grow their own knowledge, skills and abilities. There are “no right answers” when it comes to delegation. Do be prepared to support your team and re-prioritise as needed.


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