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Preventing Delegation Mistakes: Tips & Examples

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  • 0:04 A Delegating Dilemma
  • 0:55 Common Delegation Mistakes
  • 5:03 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Delegating is hard enough even without encountering many of the roadblocks that can prevent it from being successful. In this lesson, we'll consider examples of common mistakes and look at tips for avoiding them in the future.

A Delegating Dilemma

You delegated tasks for next month's big gala more than two weeks ago, but most of the jobs are still incomplete, the tasks that are finished aren't up to your standards, and your employees seem to be MIA. What's going on?

As you tick off the minutes and count the days toward the gala's opening night, you realize you have an office full of employees that you're frustrated with. You're probably going to have to take on the tasks that haven't been completed and the entire project is crumbling around you.

What happened here? Is it your employees' fault or do you need to point the finger at yourself? Most likely you've committed one of numerous mistakes that can happen in the delegation process, which is handing out assignments and tasks to your employees. Managers often have difficulty delegating and, as a result, encounter numerous pitfalls on their way to sharing tasks and assignments with employees. In this lesson, you'll learn about some of the common roadblocks for managers looking to delegate and some tips for avoiding these scenarios.

Common Delegation Mistakes

Let's take a few moments to develop a better understanding of some common delegation mistakes you might encounter as a manager. We'll look at these nine mistakes, as well as tips for handling them.

1. Refusing to let go

Many managers have difficulty relinquishing control of projects or tasks, and often find themselves overburdened as a result. Learning to delegate is a crucial trait of successful leaders because it's simply not possible to do it all.

Tip: Delegate properly

Delegating properly minimizes this issue. Preparing applicable tasks ahead of time, matching them to the most qualified employee, and equipping him or her with the tools necessary to do a job well.

2. Forgetting the accountability

When you delegate, it can be tempting to pass off tasks and then wipe your hands clean of any involvement, but that's just a recipe for disaster. Accountability throughout the task helps ensure things are getting done and hitting the appropriate targets.

Tip: Schedule regular meetings

Schedule them with employees who have been tapped to complete an assigned task, or find another method of accountability such as a weekly progress report or check-in sheet.

3. Picking the wrong person

It's true not everyone is well-equipped for every task you might need completed. Giving the wrong assignment to the wrong person will be frustrating for everyone.

Tip: Think

Think about your available personnel, assess their strengths and weaknesses, and then work to match them to the right job to ensure a successful outcome.

4. Not allowing mistakes

Mistakes are a part of any job so long as you're working with human beings. Mistakes can actually be a crucial component of growth and learning. Managing employees requires a certain degree of understanding, compassion, and embracing mistakes as a learning opportunity.

Tip: Encourage your employees

Specifically, encourage them to strive for peak performance, but let them know you're available if they encounter a roadblock or make a mistake along the way. Keep open lines of communication throughout the process.

5. Lack of clarity

Employees who aren't certain about expectations, goals, or even simple things, like deadlines and budgets, are being set up for failure. Be clear in what needs to be accomplished, with all the instructions and guidelines necessary for success.

Tip: Communication

Communication at the time of delegation and throughout the process will help ensure that your employees understand the project's instructions. Ask lots of questions and encourage the same.

6. Procrastination

Waiting too long to delegate assignments can overwhelm you and frustrate employees called upon to help. Dumping tasks in employees' laps is a sure-fire way to earn the resentment of your staff.

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