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Last Updated on December 27, 2020

The Importance of Delegating Leadership (And How to Do It)

The Importance of Delegating Leadership (And How to Do It)

Good leaders have mastered the art of delegating leadership.

Delegation is a simple phenomenon. It means that a manager or leader breaks down a big work project into smaller parts and divides it among various individuals. The supervisor maintains control while the subordinates enjoy some authority, too.

This simple concept of delegating leadership has great benefits if done the right way. Keep reading to find out all about it!

Why You Should Start Delegating Leadership

The main question is, why bother with delegating leadership at all? Why should you replace your years-old system with this new one?

Well, grab a snack because the list is long.

1. Time-Efficient

It’s pretty self-explanatory how delegating leadership saves so much time.

The real deal is that you can utilize this saved time for so many other important tasks. As a leader or manager, you always need more time. Delegating is the magic to get that wish granted!

A lot of things can save you time, but with delegation you get enough control to keep an eye on the delegated work or project. This gives you room to allow multiple projects to go on at once without having to compromise your attention on any one of them.

Simultaneously, you can work on things that are of higher importance and cannot be delegated.

In the longer run, the simple idea of delegating leadership brings immense economic benefits to the organization simply because time is managed more efficiently.

2. Empowers Employees

Do you know what the difference between a highly successful organization and a struggling organization is? It is not the size of the business or the effectiveness of the employees.

Instead, it is the organization’s treatment of employees. Treatment in this context doesn’t mean employee benefits and relationships. It refers to employee empowerment.

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Look at it this way:

There’s one extremely genius individual, but since s/he isn’t the one with the highest authority in a work environment, her/his abilities are restricted. S/he is always told how and what to do.

One day, their superiors let them take control by delegating responsibilities. They relay what final output they are expecting, and the rest is on the employee. This empowerment will put the responsibility on the individual’s shoulders, and, as a result, this person will put in more effort and productivity than normal.

This empowering attitude of the organization makes subordinates feel like they are in control, which encourages healthy self-sufficiency. No organization can be successful without this approach.

3. More Skills for Everyone

Think of one skill that you think you are great at.

Were you always an expert in this skill? More than likely, it took you practice, a lot of mistakes, and hard work to master it.

The same applies to all employees. Once you start delegating leadership, they will get the chance to practice hands-on.

When you begin delegation in your office, you can start conducting supporting, skill-based workshops as well. The nature of delegating itself allows leaders to train their subordinates, and leaders also get to learn from their employees.

4. Encourages Honesty

Honesty is something so vital, yet it can never be forced. Communicating feedback, doing the task, being punctual, maintaining good relationships inside the workplace, and everything else needed for a smooth work environment requires honesty.

Believe it or not, delegating leadership gives every individual the space to become honest willingly. It is impossible to delegate for the leader and complete delegated tasks by the subordinates without complete transparency.

This is one place where honesty can start to become a habit, and eventually, it will become a part of every single employee in your organization, all with the help of delegation.

5. More Brains

This point is connected with employee empowerment.

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When the subordinates take control, they think differently than the superiors. It is human nature that no two individuals ever perceive the same information in the same exact way.

What this means is that for the same task, more brains will put in their ideas. Therefore, on top of what the leader suggests, the subordinate can bridge in more ideas and produce something innovative.

6. Leadership Requires Planning

Being a leader is not an easy job. There is a lot that goes into becoming a good leader.

One of the most vital duties of a leader is to plan. Without doing so, not only is the life of the leader worsened, but it also affects all of the subordinates.

Planning and organizing is a time-consuming job. Luckily, delegating leaves behind ample time for planning effectively.

Basically, delegating effectively lets the team leader do what’s most important and focus on the big picture while the rest of the team handles delegated tasks.

7. Organization of Tasks

Here’s something we all know but tend to forget quite often:

Not all tasks are equal. Some are a higher priority, while others can be delayed. Sometimes, specific tasks come up later but need to be completed before everything else.

This is why leaders need to plan. However, even after all the planning, urgent tasks or projects can surface out of nowhere.

In times like these, the best way out is by delegating leadership. Jobs that do not require 100% expertise of the leader can be delegated.

Now, the delegated task will be completed well in time. Similarly, whatever the leader is left behind doing can also be tackled urgently.

Mistakes to Avoid When Delegating Leadership

Aren’t you amazed by all the mind-blowing benefits of delegating leadership?

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Be careful, though, because these benefits can be lost if you make the following mistakes. These common delegation mistakes can turn the tables, and instead of advantages, the wrong delegation technique may make things harder for you.

Over-Delegation

Delegation is the distribution of workload so that the delegator can spend their time doing more important things.

This does not mean that the supervisor should delegate everything and sit idle themselves.

Over-delegating leads to excess burden and pressure on employees. No employee can ever perform well enough under constant stress.

Also, if you delegate more than one task simultaneously to the same team, things will get messy. You can delegate multiple tasks at one time, but make sure you’re distributing the workload among more individuals instead of concentrating the pressure on just a few.

Micromanaging

Delegating leadership is all about sharing control. If you’re going to micromanage every single move of your subordinates, you might as well do the job yourself.

Not only is it hectic for the supervisor, but it also makes things tougher for the subordinates. You must give enough autonomy and authority for employees to succeed and complete the task.

Lack of Communication

Just because you’ve handed over part of your reign to another individual does not rid you of responsibility. Your duty here is clear communication.

Whenever you delegate, be very clear, and do not leave any ambiguity.

From task details to deadlines to the degree of authority being delegated, let the subordinate know all the specifics.

In times like these, it is better to over-communicate instead of risking a lack of communication. Also, clarify things that you assume the team already knows.

Moreover, do not expect the subordinates to ask all the questions on the spot. As they move on with the task, more queries will surface. So, be readily available to provide the support that your team needs.

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Demand for 100% Perfection

Humans always make mistakes. As a leader, you make mistakes, too. That’s not something to be ashamed of.

The concern here is that you and all your subordinates should be willing to accept the mistakes. Followed by acceptance of a mistake is the will to fix it.

You should put confidence in your team members. Give them enough room to mess up while performing the task so that they do not feel overwhelmed with pressure. At the same time, be authoritative enough to command them to learn from their mistake so that it’s not repeated in the future.

Instead of reprimanding your team for making mistakes, offer help. Since you are the expert in the lot, your subordinates expect to learn from you.

Choosing the Wrong Person

The essence of delegation is that the subordinates should do a good job.

Now, delegation doesn’t magically make every team member highly skilled. It is your job as a leader to identify who can do what.

Moreover, you should also use the 5 levels of task delegation[1] to make sure that the assigned jobs are monitored according to the skill level of the subordinates.

Distributing tasks randomly will do the opposite of what you expect from delegation.[2]

To save time, you should pre-evaluate all of your subordinates. This way, when the time comes, you know exactly who to go to.

Conclusion

There is no doubt left in the importance of delegating leadership.

If you’re a leader who is concerned about the productivity, pressure, workload, and overall environment in your workspace, learning how to delegate is a beneficial path to adopt in the long term.

Avoid the common rookie leader mistakes and let delegating leadership do wonders for your organization!

More Tips on Delegating

Featured photo credit: Dylan Gillis via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Inc.: 5 Levels of Remarkably Effective Delegation
[2] American Management Association: Delegation Do’s and Don’ts

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

    More Productivity Tips

    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

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