Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Delegating Tasks to Build Staff Capacity

As a leader, do you delegate tasks to staff in the hope to build their capacity?

In a desire to share / distribute leadership, have you ever delegated a task to a staff member,....and somehow it ended up back on your plate?  Beware of this "reverse delegation."  Staff members who are unsure how to do something may enlist you in doing it for them.  Don't automatically solve problems or make decisions for hesitant colleagues.  Focus on generating alternative solutions together, making sure your colleague maintains responsibility for carrying through with the task.  Don't fall for it when others make statements like, "You'll do a better job with this."  While flattering, and possibly even true, they are often a way to get you involved when you needn't be....and how do you build capacity among your staff...if people feel they can - or should - default to you?

Support your staff members with tasks that 'stretch' them.  Many will discover that they have much more capacity than they realized.  They'll discover that their talents are greater than they realized.  But just in case.....don't be too far away.  They may need some coaching or mentoring along the way.  They'll feel reassured and more willing to take on challenges in the future if they know that you believe they can do it AND you're close by 'just in case'. 

Adaped from: Guide to Project Management (Harvard Business Review)

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