Motivating Through Delegation

Have you ever wanted a clone of yourself so you can finish all the dull tasks on your to do list and get on with living your life? It’s impossible to do everything yourself and you can’t make another copy of yourself. But as a boss you can delegate to your employees. Actually the fundamental reason for having employees is to do work for you. This is why one of the routine things that managers do is delegate work to employees. And when you get it right you’ll find that employees aren’t there just to help carry the load.

What you will find is that your employees often do a better job than you because they have more time available and different skill sets. But that’s the dream vision of delegation, in reality you and I know that bosses struggle with delegation. Bosses have a lot of work to do and getting employees to work as hard and as well as we do isn’t easy. Humans are complex and simply telling them what to do doesn’t work. So how do we move from an overflowing inbox to a world where we use delegation as a motivational tool for growth?

Delegation is an essential manager skill. But it’s one of those life skills that they don’t teach you how to do in school. Like many manager skills, it’s not just what you do that counts, it’s how you do it that makes the difference. Want to be a better boss to advance your career and earnings? Then improve your delegation manager skills. Is your delegation working for you? Take the Work Delegation Checkup to find out.

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What I typically find is that bosses have bad experiences with delegation and then are reluctant to delegate. What happens is that employees get disengaged and lack the skills they need to support delegation. This feeds into a self-reinforcing negative down spiral where bosses can’t get out of the hole.

Are any of your pre-conceived thoughts the self-limiting beliefs that are keeping you in this hole?

Some of the signs that you might be in a hole include:

  1. Do you have a high workload or maybe you work overtime? Or
  2. Do you have a work backlog with many items being dependent on you to start/ progress? Or
  3. Are you doing things your employees should be doing or can do at a lower cost? Or
  4. Are you doing things that you are not an expert at?

These are all signs that you need to delegate more to manage your workload. Apologies to come across as critical here - the point is to make you aware so you can get out of the hole you’re in. What’s going on is that you’re overloaded which means your work isn’t getting done promptly. And you’re not operating on the level of a manager, you are doing work that is a level below your job title.

The hidden cost is that this means you are neglecting your priorities. You can’t give your priorities the care and attention they need when you are too busy doing other work. (Do you know what work is taking up your time? Use the work tracking worksheet as a delegation tool to find out)

But it doesn’t have to be that way because effective bosses know how to use delegation not just to get stuff done but also as a motivational tool for growth.

You see, here are three beautiful things about Effective Delegation:

  • One, tasks you don’t want to do can be an attractive development opportunity for an employee,
  • Two, as talented as you are, you’re not the best at everything. The beauty of diversity means that there’s someone out there who is better than you at some tasks. and
  • Three, your employees can dedicate priority, time and focus that you can’t.

Tip: Delegation success starts with picking the right things to delegate, use the “How to Identify what to Delegate” as a delegation tool.

Some bosses don’t delegate because they are holding onto the belief that “if you want something done right, then do it yourself” But this is a management myth because when you delegate well, you get better results than trying to do everything yourself.

As with much of management there’s a transformative difference between doing something and doing it well.

Now I understand that the reason many bosses get into this hole in the first place is because managing people is difficult. People are stubborn - they don’t like being told what to do. Here are five more questions to ask yourself honestly:

  1. Does checking, correcting, redoing or finishing your employee's work take up a lot of your time?
  2. Do your employees seem uncommitted to results?
  3. Does your team need you around to function?
  4. Do you feel that employees don’t take the care and attention that you would? and
  5. Do you feel stressed or uninformed about employees progress?

You see, these are signs that the way you delegate isn’t working. The way to get out of the hole is behind the solutions to these problems.

Tip: To find out how to delegate, start with a good delegation process

Ok so that’s the dark side of delegation, let’s have a look at more of the bright side of delegation. Because growth is a strong intrinsic motivational factor. Your employees want to learn and grow so when you help them to grow you create mutual value. When you do this you will be in the management sweetspot because ethical management isn’t a zero sum game where employees trade their time purely for money.

Here are some of the ways that your employees find delegation motivational:

  1. Right now your employees have skills that are being wasted because they’re not getting used. Your employees want to do what they’re good at. Delegation can help your employees find this fulfilment so they don’t have to leave to find it elsewhere
  2. Your employees want to progress. Delegating responsibilities to staff is like a small promotion but without the increase.
  3. Your employees want to grow and learn new things and
  4. Your employees want to be entrusted with responsibilities, to make a contribution and be valued

This is why developing employees through delegation is a cheap and efficient way to motivate your staff.

Next Steps: Delegation Essentials:

Delegation is an essential manager skill, to be a better boss, start with improving your own delegation skills with delegation training. Delegation Essentials is a free, online management training course. And you can even earn a certificate for your resume.

Wrapping up & Next Steps

And so to wrap up. The closest that you can come to creating another copy of yourself is to delegate your work to an employee. Effective managers are pros at delegation, they delegate a lot and they delegate well. Effective bosses don’t just delegate to manage their own workload. Truly great bosses know how to use delegation in management as a motivational tool to:

  • Get things done,
  • Increase productivity as well as,
  • Increase employee retention

Personally for me when I hold onto things because I want to do them my way then I find they don’t get done. But when I let go and delegate to my employees then I make more progress. And it’s really satisfying when I get back work that’s done better than I could’ve done it myself.

Effective Managers and Delegation

Effective managers develop their staff by giving them stretching assignments. Effective managers don’t hold onto tasks because they are “the only one that can do them right”.  Effective managers don’t have to be experts at everything. Effective managers are experts at engaging people with the right skills to do a better job than they could do themselves.

Are you in a hole stuck under a pile of work? Part of self leadership is managing your own workload and productivity. You can use effective delegation to climb out of the hole.

Thanks for your attention. When your people perform anything is possible. Being a boss is great, your staff will like and respect you. And your career will fly. But when they don’t you’ll be the one stuck in the office on the weekends. This is part of WWW.BOSS.CAMP will show you how to be a boss like a boss.


Do you have any tips, questions or comments about effective delegation? Please share in the comments below.