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Want to be a good boss? Delegate, don’t micromanage or take over

Capable employees don’t want a micromanager. Delegating effectively develops a manager’s team and frees the manager to focus on other problems.
Capable employees don’t want a micromanager. Delegating effectively develops a manager’s team and frees the manager to focus on other problems. Miami Herald

As you progress in your management career, one of the most challenging skills to develop is that of effective delegation.

The transition from individual contributor to manager can be difficult because it requires that you let go of tasks and trust others to complete the work. If you hang on to previous responsibilities, you may fail as a manager and frustrate those who report to you. For capable employees, working for a micromanager can be a nightmare.

So what can you do?

Let go: Recognize that your job is to enable others to complete tasks. If you find yourself thinking that it is just easier and faster to do things yourself, you are missing the point. If you persist in doing so, you rob your team members of opportunities to grow and learn. Furthermore, you will likely neglect more strategic matters.

Pitch, so others can catch: Communicate your expectations upfront. Clearly establish reasonable timelines. Lay out particular requirements for the work — quality, cost, whatever. Ask if the employee understands what is expected. Also ask if the employee has the resources and ability to meet your expectations. If not, be open to negotiation.

Check in and coach: For small tasks, informal check-ins will serve. For more elaborate projects, schedule more formal interim check-ins. Offer coaching. Use these check-ins to monitor progress and offer positive or corrective feedback.

Hold people accountable: If you have been clear and supportive throughout the work process, holding others accountable is much, much easier.

Debrief: When the work is complete, ask about lessons learned. What went well? What should happen differently next time? Weigh in with your thoughts. These conversations can strengthen the relationship and improve the work over time. You will gain greater confidence in your team, and they will grow professionally.

Effective delegation develops your team and frees you to focus on other matters. Good for you, the team, the organization. Win-win-win.

Linda Clark-Santos, Ph.D., is a consultant and executive coach. lcsbusinessinsider@gmail.com. This column appears in the June 21-July 18, 2017, edition of the Idaho Statesman’s Business Insider magazine. Click here for the Statesman’s e-edition, which includes Business Insider (subscription required).

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