Lately, I’ve been writing some lessons from my days as a school administrator to guide other administrators on their journey. If you have not read Parts 1 and 2, please ensure you so do on my blog at www.nancykpezu.com.
So, let's; get started on this.
Part 3 is about Effective Delegation.
As a young school administrator, one of the things I struggled with the most, was delegating tasks to my subordinates. I always thought that no one was going to do the job better than I would, because of my perfectionist tendencies and my ability to pay attention to details. So, I would work and work, and work myself into a frazzle until there was barely any strength or stamina left in me. Now, I look back at those days and realise that it would have been completely different if someone had taught me practically how to delegate, apart from having to study this subject for my MBA class then.
I just wanted the job to be done right, while I forgot in my naivety then, that I do not have more hours in a day than anyone else. And besides, I do not have all the skills required to get everything done in the organisation. And boy! Did I learn it the hard way! I remember one of my school administrator job positions where I worked and worked, and didn't take a break for two years at a stretch. I completely over stretched myself and was so overly stressed even on tasks that could have easily been delegated if I had known any better. I was burnt out!
I am sure someone is there nodding or smiling in agreement because the inability to delegate effectively, is a common problem amongst new or young managers of which school administrators are not exempt.
But, firstly, what is delegation? And why must we delegate as managers?
In my words, very simply put, delegating means assigning a task, responsibility or project to someone else, while you are ultimately responsible for the outcome.
As a matter of fact, part of your job as an administrator is to delegate. That the task needs to be performed does not mean it ultimately has to be performed by you.
So, learn to delegate.
The question is, how do you delegate effectively?
Firstly, identify what needs to be delegated. I do not recommend that you delegate very sensitive tasks for a start. When you are learning to delegate, start with simpler tasks such as supervision. You can delegate more when you have built trust and ascertained what the team can do.
After you have identified the exact tasks that need to be delegated, decide on the right knowledge and the skills that will be required to get the job done. I’ll give you a concise example here. On one of my previous jobs, there was a big issue with the uniforms supply. I needed someone to handle it while I focused on other tasks. So as soon as I identified this area that needed attention, I went on to identify the skills and knowledge required to get the job done, namely good negotiating and bargaining skills, attention to details, supervision of the tailors involved, exact description of the fabric for the school uniform, etc. Then I went on to select a staff member I could delegate this assignment to.
The next step would be to clearly state what the problem is and communicate the expected outcome to the staff you’re delegating the task to. So, I made her understand that the uniforms needed to be ready with the quality and timeline for delivery clearly stated and communicated to her. I prefer that such communication is done via email or documented properly. The staff involved needs to respond that he or she has clearly understood what is required and the time for delivery, and what would be at stake should the timeline need be adhered to. He oe she is given the oportunity to ask questions for clarity. So, clear directives are very important in delegation and must not be left out, or esle, there might be a mix up in the whole thing. You don't want the staff delivering an entirely different result from what you expect, would you?
When you have deleaged, there is a need to follow up, but be careful so that you do not end up micromanaging the staff involved. Ask them to provide feedback and any challenges they might encounter in delivering the task. The feedback should be given at a timely fashion, and not left till when the timeline is at stake. Please bear in mind that you’ll ultimately be held responsible for any issues that may crop up from the assignment even though it was delegated to someone else.
Then finally, after the completion of the tak, please review it and evaluate the staff member’s performance. Then provide feedback about your review and reward such staff with a word of praise or as little as an email of recommendation to encourage them to take on extra tasks when next there is an opportunity for such.
As an administrator or manager, you need to delegate often, as you end up robbing your staff of developing better skills and stretching themselves when you fail to do so. It also frees you up to deal with more strategic issues instead of minding petty things that can easily be handled by the people you lead.
I hope this helps.
Would you want to share your experiences with delegation? Would you want to share how you’ll apply this on your job? What have you learnt from this?
Please do so in the comments.
Nancy Ekpezu is a management consultant, administrator and life coach. She works at the Pezu Smith Consulting. You can schedule an appointment for a coaching session on her website at www.nancyekpezu.com. Or simply contact her via Whatsapp on +234-803-5880-367.