Art of Delegation for Business Owners & Professional Leaders



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One of the important skills any leader should have is the "art of delegation" to get things done effectively from their second line of command. They should focus on their strengths and delegate their weaknesses is an effective way of delegation but they should also make teams responsible for their achievements and engage them through this process of effective delegation. 

To develop this skill set, leaders in any capacity engaged/working in corporate, small and medium business space and business owners should understand the roles, responsibilities, authorities and accountabilities of their team members. 

Typically, this skill is not taught anywhere but developed by leaders through experience and working with their teams. Every leader must learn the nuances of defining roles and responsibilities of team members to make delegation effective. It is vital to define Key Result Areas (KRAs) of team members and design a strategic framework to engage them in a manner that person delivers to the best of his/her ability in this process of knowing KRAs and proves to be a productive resource.

One of the most talked about concern of any business is "human resource productivity and performance", which is also called as Labour Productivity but I would call it Capital Productivity in its spirit of understanding human resource as Human Capital.

In my experience, I have seen many leaders complaining that their team members are not performing to their requirements and that is the root cause of less productivity that team leader starts complaining. Team leaders need to understand that every person in the team is competent and capable of performing unless he/she is told very specifically "what to do and how to do" and this can only be done by defining KRAs, which are nothing but top 3-5 responsibilities, which that person is made accountable for achieving those KRAs. 

Leaders should define weighted average KRAs in percentage based on the time he/she is going to allocate to those individual KRAs. This can be done very easily by prioritizing each KRA based on time spent on. That KRA can be assigned by a target of achievement for that person and then each KRAs should be monitored every day and every month by developing monitoring tools for that person to report to his/her reporting leader. This reporting can be easily done by devising a reporting format for defined KRAs if done on that day or not by assigning binary 0/1 number.  In this manner each KRA for that day and for that month can be monitored by that individual by him/herself and the team leader is left with zero chance of any subjective rating of that team member.  

Leaders should understand that every human has a potential to perform only when their KRAs are well defined in professional environment and simple monitoring systems are developed will never give that leader a chance to complain. 

Leaders should also extend compassion to their team members and trust them with their best performance and everyone will perform to achieve desired results for that function/project/department/process. 

In my experience, leaders who run  their own business and professionals who work in corporates, public institutions, government set up and SMEs face this challenge more often because they tend to do everything themselves because of insecurity of losing their position and mistrust built by wrong practices. In fact, insecurity of losing position and mistrust for their teams is generally due to absence of structured approach to define HR framework, understanding individual strengths of team members, appropriate allocate of tasks based on strengths and lack of focus to achieve ultimate business results overpowered by personal style of working and dealing with people in the teams.

Finally, my recommendation for Leaders to develop skill of "Art of Delegation" can be build through a systematic approach, defining job description, defining KRAs, defining performance indicators, develop monitoring system and ultimately making teams accountable for everything they are engaged for that assignment, which will certainly make them highly productive, effective, efficient and SMART.



What is Art of Delegation and who should have or learn this ART?

 Art of delegation is one of the important Leadership Skills, which every leader should learn and develop to get things done effectively from their second line of command or teams sporting to that leader.

How can a leader learn this art of delegation and make best use of this skill set?

Leaders should focus on their strengths and delegate their weaknesses is an effective way of delegation but they should also make teams responsible for their achievements and engage them through this process of effective delegation.

To develop this skill set, leaders in any capacity engaged/working in corporate, small and medium business space and business owners should understand the roles, responsibilities, authorities and accountabilities of their team members.

Why is art of delegation required at all?

Typically, this skill is not taught anywhere but naturally developed by leaders through experience and working with their teams.

For managing teams, how does art of delegation make an impact in business/work environment?

Every leader must learn the nuances of defining roles and responsibilities of team members to make delegation effective. It is vital to define Key Result Areas (KRAs) of team members and design a strategic framework to engage them in a manner that person delivers to the best of his/her ability in this process of knowing KRAs and proves to be a productive resource.

One of the most talked about concern of any business is "human resource productivity and performance", which is also called as Labour Productivity but I would call it Capital Productivity in its spirit of understanding human resource as Human Capital.

How can a Leader make his/her Delegation most effective?

In my experience, I have seen many leaders complaining that their team members are not performing to their requirements and that is the root cause of less productivity that team leader starts complaining. Team leaders need to understand that every person in the team is competent and capable of performing unless he/she is told very specifically "what to do and how to do" and this can only be done by defining KRAs, which are nothing but top 3-5 responsibilities, which that person is made accountable for achieving those KRAs.

What are the myths around this management concept of delegation?

One of the biggest myth is that people do not follow instructions because they are not competent. I believe no one is incompetent, its all about how we chose our teams to perform a certain task and then we do not help them to develop skills to follow delegation norms. I also believe that chasing right resource for right job is the most important competence of a Leader, if understood properly and executed, any leader can get things done smoothly and within timelines.

Can you share some example from industry for our audience to understand its practical implementation?

Leaders should define weighted average KRAs in percentage based on the time he/she is going to allocate to those individual KRAs. This can be done very easily by prioritizing each KRA based on time spent on. That KRA can be assigned by a target of achievement for that person and then each KRAs should be monitored every day and every month by developing monitoring tools for that person to report to his/her reporting leader. This reporting can be easily done by devising a reporting format for defined KRAs if done on that day or not by assigning binary 0/1 number.  In this manner each KRA for that day and for that month can be monitored by that individual by him/herself and the team leader is left with zero chance of any subjective rating of that team member. 

How can a leader go wrong and fail in delegation?

Leaders normally go wrong in absence of clear cut task vs human resource deployment strategies and mostly FAIL. I have seen this mostly with entrepreneurs, who tend to do everything themselves and do not delegate not because they do nt want to but they do not know HOW TO….

Do you think, this skill is at all required in today’s innovative and technology driven business environment, where human intervention is becoming least?

This management and leadership skill is universal and will never die out even in the most innovative and technologically driven business environment because of simple reason that at the end of the day, it is the human intervention which gets things done.

What are your top three recommendations for business owners and professionals as you said for effective delegation of work?

My recommendations are as follows:

1. Chose right teams to follow delegation norms and therefore develop a strong second line of command

2.  Decide and define clear cut key result areas which emanates from Job Description comprising 2Rs and 2As (Role, Responsibility, Authority & Accountability)
3. Monitor individual performance on daily basis and develop a strong but simple monitoring system typically in binary (0/1) format against check list of tasks under each KRA.

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