Work load and pressure is such a common theme in my coaching sessions with clients. So often I hear clients say that they have so much to do that they can’t manage the strategic aspects of the job and therefore, the job is about firefighting rather that proactively managing. And yet when I ask them about delegating, a look of fear often crosses their face. So why the reluctance?
In this article, I am going to explain exactly why you should be delegating:
Delegating Increases Team Member Motivation, Engagement and Responsibility
If team members feel they are responsible for meaningful work, they are more likely to give that work a lot more attention and effort to achieve the outcomes. People generally have a desire to feel needed in their roles so if you give them work which is deemed important, it makes them feel that they are making a real contribution and are therefore likely to perform at the higher level to demonstrate just that. What a great way to create a highly motivated and high performing team!
Exposure to new Experiences and Skills
By introducing team members to new experiences and skills it not only increases their motivation but it brings in a fresh pair of eyes to the task. By delegating you are tapping into the employee’s creativity and encouraging them to bring new ideas to the table.
Of course, by delegating and giving new skills and experiences, you are also supporting your staff with their career progression. Having new exciting projects they can put on their CV is a brilliant motivator to do a good job too!
It Frees Up Your Time
Delegating saves you from completing the non-influential tasks or from completing tasks which you are not so good at. This will make your life easier, free up your time to work on the important work areas and allow you to develop yourself.
So next time you feel reluctant to delegate, remember these benefits – not only will your team thank you but you will become much more effective as a result.
In my line of work I often meet people who struggle to provide negative and constructive feedback to their staff or colleagues. When I explore this with them, it is often the fear of not being liked or ‘getting an earful’ from the individual that holds them back. Consequently, managers are often putting up with poor performance and sometimes quite frankly, bad behaviour rather than confront (and resolve) the issue.
So here I am going to share my tips for delivering constructive feedback which maintains relationships and gets results!
Top Tip 1: Pause and Remain Calm
When giving feedback it is important that you are calm and rational. Therefore, if you are angry about a situation, then ensure you take a step back and pause before you give feedback. If you give feedback immediately, then the chances are you will say something you regret – and this will not be constructive!
Top Tip 2: Plan
Plan carefully what you are going to say. Ensure that everything you plan to say is factual and is about the issue, not the person.
Top tip 3: Confidential
Make sure you deliver what you plan to say, in private. If the person receiving the feedback is going to continue to trust and respect you, then they must feel that what is being said is confidential.
Top tip 4: Look them in the Eye
Delivering feedback needs to be seen as sincere. If you cannot look at the individual you are giving feedback to, they may not take it seriously. If you look them in the eye they will have more trust and respect for you and they will feel listened to, when they are given the opportunity to speak.
Top Tip 5: Describe Their Behaviour
This is quite simple – describe the behaviour that they undertook in an objective and adult way. For example if a member of staff is consistently turning up late for work say, “John, I have noticed that on the last three mornings you have arrived at work at twenty past nine when you’re contracted to arrive at 9 o’clock.” Or if dealing with a member of staff who has shouted at another colleague, “Sarah, this morning I noticed that you shouted at John in front of your work colleagues and you called him “Lazy and stupid”.”
Top Tip 6: Describe the Impact and Consequences
This is where you can describe how the behaviour has impacted upon you (and team if necessary) and the consequences. This raises awareness in the individual that their behaviour has a negative impact. In the case of John being late you might say, “This leaves us in a difficult position when people ring up to ask for you as we cannot tell them your whereabouts and staff feel that they are having to cover for you.” In the case of Sarah you might say, “Myself and colleagues felt very uncomfortable when you did this. We felt that your reaction humiliated John in front of colleagues and it felt that relationships in the office were strained all morning. John has since said that he feels your actions undermined him in front of people who previously respected him.”
Top tip 7: Resolve
This is where you can ask the individual what happened from their point of view and how they can ensure this does not happen again. Equally, you can state what behaviour you expect from them in the future. So you may say to John when he is late, “John, we need you to be in the office by 9am every morning as this is what your contract states. If you are unable to do this then we need to consider renegotiating your contract. What do you want to say?” Or in the case of Sarah, “If you have an issue with a colleague in future please can you ensure that you discuss it with them in private and that you deliver your message in an objective and constructive way; and in a manner which is supportive”, (and perhaps share this article)!
Yvonne Vigar is a Leadership and Performance Coach at Astara Coaching www.astara-coaching.co.uk
This half-day course is suitable for Managers and Business Owners who want to increase their visibility and credibility as a leader.
The course will provide you with the opportunity to reflect on your own leadership style, to focus on your leadership branding and learn how to unlock your personal leadership power.
£75 per delegate; £65 Early bird booking (book by Thursday 31st October).
Date and Venue Details:
“Unlock Your Leadership Power” is being held at Long Sutton Golf Club, (TA10 9JU) on Monday 2nd December 2013. The course will run from 9.15am (coffee available from 9.00am) until 12.30pm followed by the chance to network over a sandwich lunch.
To join us on this inspiring course and to find your true leadership power, book now by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
This half-day course is designed to support individuals who are feeling overwhelmed at work and are looking to find solutions to get ‘back on track’.
The course will help you to recognise symptoms of stress and overwhelm, identify your triggers and take action to maintain resilience in the workplace.
£35 per delegate
Date and Venue Details:
“Dealing with overwhelm: reducing stress and increasing resilience in the workplace” is being held at Long Sutton Golf Club, (TA10 9JU) on Tuesday 26th November 2013. The course will run from 9.30am (coffee available from 9.00am) until 12.30pm followed by the chance to network over a sandwich lunch.
To join us on this informative course and to get back on top of your game, book now by contacting email@example.com
Top Tip 1: Vision
In order for you to be efficient with your time, you need to know what your vision is. What do you want from your business in 1 year, 3 years or 5 years? What does success look like to you? Then create a vision board so that every day you know exactly what you are striving towards.
Top Tip 2: Bite Sized Chunks
Now that you have your vision, you need to make it manageable. Make a ‘To-Do’ list of what needs to be done to get where you are going – and then make those tasks smaller. If you approach the day with a task to ‘develop the website’ it will make your brain scream. If you break that task down into small components such a ‘register domain name’, ‘decide on type of software’ (and with a timeline attached) it will not only feel more manageable but is much more likely to get done.
Top Tip 3: Stop Multi-Tasking
There I’ve said it, “Stop multi-tasking!” Trying to do 3 tasks at once means getting 3 tasks done badly! Equally if you are switching between tasks you lose productivity as your brain has to re-focus on the new task in hand (see last week article, “Multi-Tasking: Good Use of Time or a Waste of Time?”). Stick to one task only and until it’s complete!
Top Tip 4: Work in Short Intervals
There is nothing like a deadline to focus the mind, so a great technique for getting work done is by setting your own mini deadlines. My favourite is setting my alarm for every 30 minutes and giving myself a task to do for every interval for example, writing an article or developing a proposal for a client (think ‘manageable bite-sized chunks’). It’s surprising what can be achieved this way. If the task is likely to take more than 30 minutes I will often be so involved in the task the first time the alarm goes off, that I set it again – and guess what? One whole hour of focused attention on the task in hand! Additionally, take short breaks or switch tasks every 1 – 1 ½ hours. Your brain will need this to re-energise – so either take a quick walk or find something completely different to do (personally I like to schedule my phonecalls after writing a business case as this requires a different skill set and refreshes me).
Top Tip 5: Eliminate Distractions
We cannot work in a productive way if we are continually distracted. What is the biggest distraction in the workplace? Emails! We are in the middle of a task and ‘ping’ up pops an email and then we find ourselves opening it up and dealing with what is now in front of us, abandoning the task which was important 5 minutes ago. Find ways of eliminating your distractions in a way which works for you. I find that for emails, it helps to have points in the day where I open and prioritise them: once in the morning, after lunch and late afternoon. This means I am always on top of my communications but I am not allowing them to get in the way of my tasks.
Top Tip 6: Use the Phone
We seem to have an over-reliance on using email for communication and then when we are looking for a prompt reply we find ourselves staring at the screen waiting for the reply email to pop up, and getting frustrated. Actually this is one of the times, it’s better to pick up the phone as you will either get an instant reply, or an indication of when our query can be dealt with. Equally, if you think your query will take more than one email to get sorted (how many times do you find yourself having an email conversation with someone), then it’s actually more productive to pick up the phone.
Top Tip 7: Work Smarter – Not Harder
Ok, we’ve all heard this phrase, but how many of us actually work as SMART as we can? When you’re presented with your list of tasks, think to yourself: What can I delegate? What can I outsource? If there is someone else who can do the job better or quicker than you then these are very real options. There is no point in juggling your main job along with the finances, the marketing and the admin, it will just lead to some of the tasks being completed badly and to you working extremely long hours and for not much money. If you outsource the admin that takes you 4 hours a day, the likelihood is that an experienced administrator can complete the task in a lot less time, leaving you time to focus on your real job!
About the author:
Yvonne Vigar is a Leadership and Performance Coach as Astara Coaching www.astara-coaching.co.uk
Ok, so what are you doing right now apart from reading this article? Having a cup of coffee? Skimming your emails to check for anything important? Thinking about how you are going to tackle an employee issue? Wondering what to cook for dinner this evening?
The chances are you are doing more than one thing right now so is this good use of your time or is this actually ineffective use of your time?
Whilst many of us were brought up to believe that multi-tasking was a good thing and something that women are much better at than men; growing research is actually telling us that multi-tasking on the whole is not a good thing. In fact, multi-tasking can reduce productivity by up to 40% according to some researchers.
People tend to multi-task in two ways: either by completing more than one task at one time (for example, having a telephone conversation whilst sending an email) or by switching between lots of different tasks. However, studies which have looked at people both switching between tasks and completing a number of tasks in quick succession, have demonstrated that more time is lost by doing so (Rogers and Monsell). This decrease in productivity is lost further when completing complex tasks (Rubenstein, Evans and Meyer).
So if you are a multi-tasker and want to increase your productivity at work take one task at a time and focus on them until they are complete. Also analyse what interrupts your working day most e.g., emails or staff asking to see you and develop ways that ensure that these can be incorporated into the day without distracting you from the task on hand.