Encouraging Proactivity Through Delegation
Using Delegation to Create a More Proactive, Motivated and Productive Team
Do you want your team to be proactive, take ownership and responsibility of their work, and have a keen appetite for learning?
In this article, we will look at why proactivity is vital for business success, the correlation between delegation of authority and proactivity, why many leaders and managers avoid delegating, and how to delegate effectively to your team.
Why Proactivity is an Essential Business Behaviour
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, being proactive means “acting in anticipation of future problems, needs, or changes.”
Successfully running a business relies heavily on being comfortable with adapting to change, making proactivity an essential business behaviour.
Typically, people are either reactive or or proactive:
- Reactive people stick with tried and tested ways and only respond to change once there is no other option, often leading to rushed, last-minute decisions
- Proactive people are always predicting trends, putting them ahead of the curve. They look at their own work with a critical eye, constantly looking for ways to do things faster, better, smarter, or in a more innovative way.
Proactivity brings many benefits both to the individual and the organisation, including:
- Less Stress
Being proactive reduces the likelihood of needing to do work last minute, making employees feel more in control and less stressed
- More Prepared
Anticipating the future today means that teams and businesses are much less likely to get caught off-guard, mitigating risk and turning change into an exciting opportunity rather than an undesirable necessity
- Save Time and Money
Solving a problem once it’s already happened is almost always more costly than investing upfront and preventing the problem from happening in the first place
- Identify Innovations
Looking at patterns and predicting trends helps organisations get to the forefront of innovations, often leading the way as Innovators or Early Adopters
- Greater Agility
When a team is proactive, they are more open to change as it is the norm for them - they are used to frequently changing and improving the way they work - so they typically have less rigid structures and are more open-minded, contributing to a more agile workplace culture
How to Encourage Proactivity in Your Organisation
Whilst people are naturally either more proactive or more reactive, there are ways you can encourage proactive behaviour, including:
- Open and transparent communication
- Give and ask for feedback
- Endorse a culture of learning
Another way to encourage employees to be proactive is by delegating. Delegation shows trust, encourages them to learn and take responsibility for their work, and improves motivation.
Why Delegation in Leadership is Non-negotiable
According to betterup.com, “the delegation of authority refers to the division of labour and decision-making responsibility to an individual that reports to a leader or manager. It is the organisational process of a manager dividing their own work among all their people.”
As John C. Maxwell once said, “if you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate”.
Delegation of authority is one of the best management tools for improving morale, job satisfaction, productivity and - of course - proactivity.
Delegating effectively also:
- Frees up managers’ time
- Allows creative problem-solving
- Utilises others’ skills and experience
So Why Are Leaders and Managers Hesitant to Delegate?
We all know the value of delegation in business and how it can supercharge our team’s productivity, so why do so many leaders and managers feel hesitant about delegating?
A few of the main reasons are that they:
- Don’t have time to train staff
- Don’t trust their staff enough to give them authority
- Don’t want to give up control
It’s undeniable that delegation requires time and effort up-front, but the benefits far outweigh the initial investment.
9 Steps to Effective Delegation
There are 9 key steps to effective delegation in leadership:
The first step is to define the task at hand and what results you expect.
Then, you need to select the team or individual who you’re going to delegate the task or project to. There are 3 key factors to consider when deciding who to delegate to:
- Their experience, knowledge and skills in relation to the delegated task
Do they have the skills required?
Will they need more information to be able to complete the task?
- Their preferred working style
How independent are they?
How much support will they want?
- Their current workload
Do they have time to complete the delegated task?
Will they need to move some of their work around to fit the task in?
Once you have decided who to delegate the task to, you need to assess their ability and training needs. What do they already know? What, if any, training will they need?
Buy-in and motivation are essential for a task to be completed well, so the next step is to explain the importance of the task and why you chose them specifically to complete it.
Once you have them onboard, state what you expect the outcome of the task or project to be and when you expect it to be completed by.
Now that they’re clear on what needs to be done, ask them to create a plan of action. What exactly do they need to do? How long do they expect each subtask to take? What resources do they need?
Then, go through their plan with them and agree it.
As they work on the task, remember to support them and communicate frequently to check in and see how they’re getting on or if they need any help - be mindful of not micromanaging as this will likely decrease their motivation and make them less enthusiastic next time you delegate to them.
Once the task is complete, give them feedback. What were the expected outcomes? Were they achieved? What was done well? What could have been done better? Was there anything in particular they enjoyed when doing the task? Was there anything in particular they struggled with?
Want to Know More or Have Any Questions?
If you want to learn more about encouraging proactivity through delegation or have any questions about delegation, have you signed up for our free Encouraging Proactivity Through Delegation webinar?
This free webinar starts at 10:30am on Thursday 26th May and will give you:
- A better understanding of how to use delegation as a management tool
- Support with team development and trust
- More of your time freed up for other priorities
To sign up for this free session or to check out what other webinars we have coming up soon, please click here.
Until next time...