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Becoming a Manager - the knotty problem of how to delegate

Written by Annette Cairns on .
delegate arrows

I am often asked by new managers that I am coaching how to manage people that they have been colleagues with. This is one of the hardest things to manage when you are first promoted.

You have been colleagues, work mates and have possibly been down the pub for a drink or two, and all of a sudden you have made the leap into “management”…and it is quite scary for the following reasons:

  • How do you tell your mates what to do?
  • How can I balance my “profession” with this management stuff?
  • Can I fit it all into Friday afternoon?

In this blog let’s just take the first reason.

How do I tell my mates what to do?

Quite simply you don’t! They are possibly going to take you telling them what to do quite badly. Remember what it was like being told what to do by the last manager? Remember you said you would never do that if you were a manager? And yet you need to ensure that the work gets done and everyone is gainfully employed.

You are in a good position in that you know what your colleagues are capable of. You have worked along side them and know what they are great at, and what they are not so great at. This means you have a head start on that previous manager who came in and started telling everyone what to do. It also means you know how much you can delegate!

Delegating – the hardest, and most important skill for a manager to learn. The first step is to believe that it is not your job to do it all! You are there to manage the jobs, not do them all. The next challenge is to avoid “dumping” jobs onto other people, especially the most productive member of your team. Trust me, they will resent it after a while, and so will everyone else.

Delegating is an opportunity to increase motivation in the team as they will have more varied capabilities, and additional sense of achievement. It’s great for the organisation as there are more people who can perform certain tasks. And it’s great for you as you can bask in having a fantastic team, leaving you time to get on with all those reports you have to do now you are a manager!

Have a good think about jobs to delegate and the people you want to develop new skills. Delegation isn’t just about pairing people with the jobs that need to be done. It is also an ideal opportunity to develop everyone in the team, which means that you have more people who are capable of performing more of the tasks. Here is a check list that you may want to consider. It may not initially be the quickest way to get a job done. It is the best way of bringing people along with you.

The delegating process

delegate process

Of course you may not need to do all these steps. For some tasks you may be able to delegate and let go. A manager who can delegate effectively ensuring that every job is done, the motivation of the team is maintained and their skills level continues to improve, will be a highly prized and successful manager who has made the leap from colleague to manager look easy.

To find out more on how to be the leader you have always wanted to be and your organisation needs you to be, please contact Annette at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or complete the contact form on the website www.greenshedtalent.co.uk

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