Managing the Monkeys!
One of the core competencies of all management is the ability to delegate effectively. In fact, failure to do so, in almost every case, means failure at your job. Many new managers must overcome resistance to delegation, and reasons for this vary. Among those I’ve heard are: “I can do it better myself.” “They might make a mistake.” “I don’t want to lose control.” “They might do it better than me.” None of these are a valid reason to avoid delegating.
You Could End Up “Using Laptops for Paperweights.”
Use people in their area of expertise or skill for maximum productivity. If they do it better than you, will you look bad? Absolutely not. What looks bad for you is when you waste talent and expertise in some simple, general or menial job. All skilled and confident managers surround themselves with people who can do specific jobs better than they can.
They Will Delegate to You.
This comes from Ken Blanchard, and it’s called “Monkey Management.” Here’s a scenario…you meet someone you manage, and they describe a problem to you. Your response is, “Let me get back to you on that. Leave it with me.” Visualize the problem or need as a monkey on the back of the person you just talked to. You’ve just said, “I can carry that monkey, put it on my shoulders.” And the monkey happily jumps over to your shoulders. Pretty soon you walk into your office and there are monkeys everywhere. The person who is reporting to you is now your supervisor, and you start reporting to them. A couple of days later they see you and ask, “How’s it coming along?” They have now taken over.
Manage the monkeys…Delegate!
When they tell you about a need or a problem, ask, ‘What solutions have you come up with so far?” (Probably nothing.) So you say, “Why don’t you go back and come up with some possible solutions, and when you have that, we’ll talk about it together.” And the monkey stays on their back.
You Are Throwing Away Time.
Years ago a young pastor began his first ministry at a small church in rural Iowa. Anxious to make a difference, he threw himself into efforts to revitalize and revive the faltering congregation. After 3 weeks, he noticed that the large church lawn was becoming quite shaggy. There was a board meeting that evening, and he brought it to everyone’s attention, “Who usually mows the church lawn?” Board members looked at each other for a moment, and finally the Chairman said, “We’ve been meaning to talk to you about that. The last pastor we had always mowed the lawn.” Seeing himself about to be roped into an activity that was a very poor use of his skills and education, he thought quickly and replied, “Well, I can call him and ask him if he still wants to do it, but I think he’ll say ‘no.’ In the meantime, who’s going to do it?”
Never think of the time it takes to train someone to perform a task as wasted time. It’s an investment. Time is money. Leverage your time. So what if it takes 2 hours to train someone to do something that it only takes you 30 minutes to do? Do the math…After they have done the task 4 times you’ve reached the break-even point. After they have done it 8 times it becomes a 100% return on your investment!
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