Thursday, September 25, 2008

Delegation 101

Delegation is sharing the workload and the blessings that come from helping out.  

A long while ago, my Mom and I had a conversation about this.  It came up because my uncle (her brother) had taken a management job at his company.  He was in "pure pain" because he couldn't bring himself to ask any of his underlings to do anything.  Rather than delegating the task, he would actually try and DO everything himself.  I think that job only lasted a few months, and his health suffered from it.

Since then, a lot of research has been done about personality types and "managerial styles".  Without going through the grueling testing to know if you are an ERRJ or an NTJ or just plain NuTS, you probably already know whether or not delegating comes easily to you.  

Can you guess what the O.M. is?  Yeah.. that's right.  I'm bossy, and I don't have trouble getting people to do things.  Delegation is as easy as brushing my teeth; in fact, I often do delegate while I'm brushing my teeth. (literally foaming at the mouth) 

 You can usually tell your strengths based on the criticism you get from  friends.  I've been called: overwhelming, intimidating, and general armchair.. for starters. I have no idea what my enemies call me!  Oh, don't go throwing me a pity party; I'm not giving myself one.  

Anyway, I think delegation gets a bad rap in the minds of some.  What delegation is not: 
"passing the buck", slacking or otherwise being lazy.  That's just good old fashioned jerk-dom, which I don't count as a realistic option for the high class readers of my blog.  

So, what is a good use of delegation?  Delegation springs from good leadership.  I suppose I could devote an entire post-load to leadership.  But I'll keep it short and sweet.

Leadership is when you not only have responsibility over things, but you also have responsibility over people.  You have to get those people and things to mesh in a timely, efficient way.  

I think certain people struggle with it more than others. 
 I'm guessing these people are:
a) perfectionists
b) detail-oriented
c) quiet/shy or reserved in nature
d) unassuming
e) compassionate

These are not bad character traits; they are actually quite commendable.  They just make this emotional hurdle that makes it hard for them to "delegate".  

Without going around and around about sort of mind game you need to play to get over these hurdles, can I just share with you WHAT is going on in my head when I get someone to do something?  (Not that this is perfect or right by any stretch.. it is what it is)  

In the case of my family:
(I don't say these outloud, but this is the general mindset)

You are living, eating and learning here, and this is your part to help out.

In the case of a worker that I am over:
You are getting paid to do something, and this is it. 

In the case of someone who has a similar interest (like a club or other volunteer thing):
Would you like to be a part of something fun/ useful/ important?  

If a man does not work, neither shall he eat. 

First, ask yourself this (as the parent): is there anything that needs to be done that ONLY I can do? Then do it.  Everything else can be delegated. 


Anonymous said...

Would you believe it? I think I have every one of your "makes-it-harder-to-delegate" character traits. Wow, no wonder, I feel like I struggle with knowing how to be the boss. I do firmly believe in having the kids do chores, lots of chores, so I WANT to delegate, I just so often think things like, "Oh, they're having so much fun, I'll just do this quickly," or the infamous, "I'll crack down on helping around the house tomorrow." Heh.

Anonymous said...

I used to be a delegator, and I'm a firm believer in it. Necessity is the mother of bossiness, as far as I can tell. The accusation "Slave driver" comes to mind. One of my dear friends has been termed "Bolshevik Mama." Now that I'm not desperate, I end up feeling a little like Mrs. Parunak..."Well, the kids are busier than I am...need to have fun..." whatever. But, I'm still a firm believer in the "if you live here, help here" mentality. I think it's better for everybody and makes life more bearable all the way around. If you never delegate, you'll never have time for fun with your kids, and kids would rather work and have some fun with you than be bored by themselves when they're little! Besides, kids who learn how to work when they're young will know how to work when they've grown up. Work isn't bad; it's good, and it's good for us! It's just our overindulgent, lazy culture that says work is to be avoided!

Daisy3rsgold said...

Perform isn't bad; it's excellent, and it's excellent for us! It's just our overindulgent, sluggish lifestyle that says jobs are to be avoided!

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