Delegation Helps You Develop Leaders—and Use Your Time Wisely

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Academic Leadership//

March 24, 2011

As a Division Head, you have a group of faculty members that you guide and support every day. You also have a plethora of duties that keep you running day in and day out. By effectively delegating some of those duties, you not only help your teachers’ professional growth, but give yourself the time to focus on the duties that only you can do.

Good delegation is a skill you need to develop. While good delegation is a win-win situation for both you and your staff member, it is often hard to “let go” of responsibilities, even when you are overwhelmed. It’s even harder if you don’t think you need to—or can—delegate anything.

Managers avoid delegating all the time. Why? Because often it’s “just easier to do it myself.” It takes less time, no instructing involved. But, is doing that task really the best use of your time? Are you really the only person who can get that task done? These are the questions you need to ask yourself.

The Web site offers common excuses managers use to avoid delegation in “Delegation Skills for Effective Manager.” A companion of “it's easier to do it myself” is “I can do it better.” This excuse is rooted in the idea that the person you delegate the task to is not capable of doing the task correctly. But the article notes that, if the task is not done correctly, often poor communication can be the culprit. The solution is to instruct the person concerning the task, then have the employee go over the instructions you just provided to make sure you are on the same page. Keep an eye on the assignment along the way too.

When you do delegate, it’s important that you delegate wisely. From your task list, choose the items that are most suitable for assigning to your employees. Go back to the question “is this the best use of my time?” If the answer is “no,” you can do a better job for your school by assigning yourself the tasks that are the best use of your time. The by-product is giving your people the chance to develop their own skills and increase their responsibility.

By delegating, you also encourage your teachers to grow and improve—and you demonstrate trust in their abilities. But don’t just dump the duties on them. You need to fully and clearly explain (as noted earlier), and outline the reason for the task and why you are delegating it. Make sure you have provided the resources necessary, set goals, and agree on the deadlines.

While your employee is working on a task, you need to connect and get updates. It’s your opportunity to coach, encourage, and praise the designee. And, at task’s end, you need to provide constructive feedback.

Jean Scheid on has 10 tips to help you learn to delegate—and become a better delegator.

  • Realize you can’t do it all by yourself.
  • Realize delegating allows you to be a mentor to your team.
  • Prioritize your tasks, understand what you can delegate, and assign the easier items first.
  • Trust team members to get the job done.
  • Don’t pass it off until you understand the task and can explain the reasons for it, the process, and the goals.
  • Trust your team to do the job well—don’t let the fear of failure stand in your way.
  • Realistic and clear goals, properly communicated, are a must.
  • Let your team in on the big picture—and let them offer input.
  • Coach your team.
  • Stay on the delegating path—don’t slide back into the “its easier if I do it” trap.

Read the whole article here.

For insight concerning delegating tasks to teachers of different experience and skill-levels, check out “Your Role as Faculty Leader: What Teachers Need From You” on the ISM Web site.


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