I taught a management tutorial at the Better Software conference this week. One of the points I discussed (and asked participants to discuss) was delegation. The managers in my tutorial said they ran into these problems when trying to delegate:
- Being too concerned with how the delegatee did the work, not the results.
- Wanting people new to type of task to perform the task at the same speed that an experienced person would.
- Not wanting to delegate technical work (“because I like it”).
- Not taking the time to think about what to delegate.
Being a great manager takes time. Managers need time for one-on-one meetings, for group problem solving meetings, for dealing with issues around the organization (in meetings, email, and vmail). If you manage people, start thinking about how you'll delegate the work.
Delegation, as all other management skills, takes practice. It's worth thinking about how to delegate, practicing with something small, and continuing to practice. That way you can be a better delegator and your staff can be better delegatees.