How to stop upwards delegation (particularly when working remotely)
Do your staff members often come to you with questions or problems that they could potentially work out themselves just by using their initiative? More often than not, do you end up saying “just give it to me and I’ll get it done, it’ll be quicker?”
While it might be quicker to do this one task right now, what you’re actually doing is training your staff to be helpless. You’re training them to come to you when they are stuck instead of taking some time to work it out for themselves. Ultimately, this ends up taking up a lot more of your time.
To stop upwards delegation, especially now that many teams are working remotely, here are some quick tips for remote managers.
Communicate clearly and concisely – remote working requires more frequent and clear communication, especially when it comes to delegating tasks. Give clear briefs and explain the impact this task has on the work of others to inspire action.
Discuss and assign key tasks and projects via phone or video call – discussing important tasks or projects directly with your employee will ensure that they can ask any questions and you can address any concerns in real-time. It also allows you to set clear expectations and to have them confirm that they understand.
Use virtual collaboration tools – Monday.com, Zoom, Slack, What’s App…use virtual tools to communicate quickly and effectively with your whole team. Make sure that everyone has access so that they can see what is assigned to who and how they all relate together.
Take the time to coach your employees – if an employee has an issue or needs help with a task, take the time to coach them through it. Instead of giving them the answer, ask them questions to help them get to a solution by themselves.
Don’t forget to praise them – it’s a difficult time where everyone is craving some social interaction. Plus, who doesn’t love to be praised for good work? If a team member has done a good job or they’ve picked up a task really quickly or they’ve made a difference to your day, tell them. There’s nothing more powerful than positive reinforcement, especially when it comes to motivation.
‘What would you do if I wasn’t here?’
Stop saying “I’ll do it, it’ll be quicker” and start asking “what would you do if I wasn’t here?” Delegating isn’t an easy thing for most managers to do and it’s even harder when your whole team is working remotely, so don’t put even more pressure on yourself by taking on the tasks of your employees too. It may take some time investment in the immediate, but if you coach them through any issues as they arise, you’ll be training your employees to be innovative workers who will take the initiative.