A short story about delegating

When John first started out as manager, he thought that he needed to prove to everyone that he could do it all.  After all, he was promoted because of his great attitude and technical abilities, so he wanted to make sure everyone knew he was deserving of this promotion.  What John soon found out was, in his old job he only had to focus on one particular project at a time, rather than having to juggle five projects all at once.  He also found that he was not providing the needed direction to his staff because he was so busy working on all of these projects.  John was getting stressed out and also knew he needed to let go of some, if not all, of his old responsibilities.


John stopped what he was doing, listed all of the projects on his whiteboard, and prioritized them based on what needed immediate attention and what could wait.  He then thought about whom in his staff could do these projects.  He had a talented staff, but he would still have to go over the project details and the timeframe.  He met with a couple of employees, one of which was a supervisor, another who was really good at documentation, and another who had technical expertise.  To John’s surprise, these individuals were excited and needed little coaching.  He made it a point to not look over their shoulder, and had to trust that they would keep him updated and do the projects correctly.  John had set up a couple of status meetings in advance so that he could discuss the progress of each project.   The good news was that every project, with just a little coaching, went smoothly and was completed on time.


What John found out was, not only did they do the projects well, it actually motivated these employees.  The more comfortable John was in delegating, the more inspiring he became.  He realized that his employees expected him to delegate.  He looked weak and inefficient when he did not delegate projects and tasks to his staff.  Employees started approaching John more and more because they knew that he was willing to listen, and was willing to give projects to employees he trusted would do a good job.  They knew that he truly wanted the best from his team and department.  The best thing of all, John’s stress levels decreased, he was able to multitask more efficiently due to staff that could help, and he was able to better manage his time due to the decrease in workload.  He was now able to focus more on everyday managerial type of responsibilities.  He started looking more like a manager who was a leader, rather than a manager who did all the tasks.


Epilogue:  In management, there are so many win/win opportunities.  Delegating is one of the most valuable of these types of opportunities.  It not only takes projects and tasks off of the managers already full plate, it gives a chance for employees to shine.  If a manager does not delegate, more stress, multitasking problems, and ineffective management of time is inevitable.  Employees also do not get a chance to shine and grow, thus morale weakens.  Delegate with authority, confidence, and setting clear goals and expectations, and you will be on the road to success.

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