No one can do it all. The most successful managers and leaders of people are in fact excellent delegators. Learning to delegate well gives you time to focus on the jobs that need your specific attention.
It also gives your employees an opportunity to grow and learn new skills. It really can be a win:win situation - your employee gets to develop, be in control of something and you free up some time.
- Decide on a task that you don't really have time to complete and that you think your employee has the potential to be responsible for. Discuss this task with your employee and see if they are willing to take it on.
- Provide a framework for your employee to operate in. Let them know the circumstances where they need to seek advice, when they should report progress and what doing the task successfully will look like.
- Hand over control of the task to your employee. Provide support and encouragement, but do not interfere unless absolutely necessary. Your employee might be slower or less competent than you in the beginning, but they need to be given the space to learn for themselves. Remember you probably didn't do it perfectly the first time either!
- Review the results with your employee and provide feedback on how they can continue improving.
- Use your extra time to good effect. Whether that be with family, pursuing hobbies or focusing on different areas of the business.
- Delegate tasks by letting employees take control where they have the appropriate skills and desire.
- Ensure the person you are delegating to has the appropriate level of skill, maturity and interest in the task.
- Encourage employees by providing clear boundaries and support when required.
- Recognise jobs done well through reward and new opportunities.
Quick Questions & Answers
How do I get staff to use their initiative?
Some people naturally have initiative and some people have to be taught to have it - especially if they have had an experience where they were "punished" for using it.
Try giving your employee some boundaries that they must operate in, but freedom within those boundaries to complete tasks as they would like. Also try acting as a coach - this means not always giving the person the answer, and instead making suggestions which help them to find the answer themselves. Asking your employee questions that help them to work out the solution to problems is a good way to start them thinking.
How do I stop staff asking silly questions?
Very few people purposely ask silly questions, so what may seem like a silly question to you is probably a serious request to your employee.
You have a huge number of skills that you have learnt over time but not everybody has your experience. Until your employee has done a task (and most people need to repeat tasks before they are learned) they genuinely may not know what to do or what is involved.
Take the time to answer each question properly. Pause regularly and where appropriate include a demonstration. Check your employee has understood by asking them questions about the topic or to show you the new skill learned.
Check you are talking to your staff in the way they learn best.
This training approach will boost your employees’ skills and confidence and lead to better performance. It won't necessarily stop them asking questions, but you should expect the questions to become more focused and about more challenging subjects given time.
Take some time to help develop your employee by creating a training plan.
If you find that an employee continues to ask "basic" questions then you may need to think about whether they have the appropriate skills and experience for their role.
Think about using performance management to improve performance on farm. It can be as formal as you like – having the conversation is what is important.
How do I get the job done my way?
What is your way, and why is this important?
Before insisting to employees that they do a job "your way" you need to determine if the right outcome is being achieved. As a manager you should think about what is being achieved, rather than how it is being achieved (unless of course health and safety is at stake). Your way is not necessarily the only, or even the best, way.
Ensure you are setting clear expectations for your staff so they know what they need to achieve. If there is a reason it must be carried out in a specific way, demonstrate it to staff and ask them to demonstrate it back to you. Let staff know how they are going.
Check that you are giving feedback that is meaningful – that is specific and timely.