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• Repetitive assignments: You know the common sentiment, “Been there, done that.” This sentiment should be your personal motto when it comes to deciding what responsibilities to delegate to
EXECUTION: GETTING THE JOB DONE
employees. Every manager should be familiar with how everything in his or her department works, and be prepared to jump in if needed in a crisis. But once you’re familiar with how different tasks or responsibilities are carried out, then it’s time to move on to something else. Give repetitive assignments to your employees; avoid doing them yourself.
• Surrogate roles: When is the last time you turned down an invitation to attend a meeting in person, but sent someone in your place instead? As a manager, this is something you should be doing much more of, not less. Not only can you not be everywhere at once, but also getting stretched too thin by commitments outside of your control does nothing to enhance your ability to manage effectively. It in fact degrades it. Whenever possible, let your employees fill in for you at presentations, conference calls, client visits, and meetings. You may be required to attend (off-site management meetings, for example), however, in many other cases, whether you attend personally or send someone in your place really doesn’t matter. The hour or two you save may be your own.
AVOID DELEGATING SOME TASKS
Just as some tasks should always be delegated, others are part and parcel of the job of being a manager and should be closely held. By delegating the following work, you are avoiding your most basic management duties (and may be found superfluous the next time a layoff occurs at your company):
• Long-term vision and goals: Managers have a unique perspective on the organization’s needs—the higher up a manager is in an organization, the broader her perspective. Although employees at any level of a company can help to shape your perspectives, developing an organization’s long-term vision and goals is really up to you. This
The Management Bible
Ask Bob and Peter: I'm a consultant for a family-owned company. The owner/manager believes he is a superman and that he can solve any problem. Actually, he is the problem. What should I do?
There are two separate aspects of your question that can create problems for you as a consultant to this company. First, the owner/ manager may not have the ability to solve the company's problems, despite the fact that he believes he can. The fact that you are there in a consultant role indicates that he needs help. We suggest you isolate the problem and develop a list of recommendations to solve the problems and ask the owner/manager to put them into effect—even if only for a trial period. Measure the quantitative improvements that result from implementing the recommendations and present them to the owner/manager. The positive results should quickly bring him around to your way of thinking. Second, the owner/manager may not understand that he is a part of the problem. This is obviously a very delicate situation, and it requires much tact to present in a way that will create positive change for the client instead of a defensive and emotional reaction against you personally. As a consultant, it's your job to tell your client problems you have found and your recommendations for solving them, as well as the positive benefits—increased employee productivity, reduced costs, increased production, improved profits, and so forth—that will result from a change in the owner/manager's management style. Your client may very well not know that he is the problem, and his employees may not want to get on his bad side by telling him so. As a consultant, you can provide an honest, outsider's opinion that he wouldn't otherwise get inside his company.
is one case where having too many people stirring the pot will get you a big mess.
• Recognizing positive performance: Employee rewards and recognition have the most impact when they come from an employee’s manager. When this task is delegated to lower level employees, the
EXECUTION: GETTING THE JOB DONE
impact of the recognition is significantly lessened and the positive effect on employee performance is greatly attenuated.
• Performance appraisals, discipline, and counseling: Some kinds of employee feedback have to come from managers, and this is definitely the case with performance appraisals, discipline, and counseling. When you discipline and counsel your employees, you’re giving them the kind of input that only you can provide. Not only that, but such matters are highly confidential—if employees feel that their dirty laundry is hanging out where everyone can see it, trust between employees and managers will be broken. Believe us: This is one task that you can’t delegate away.
• Politically sensitive situations: Every organization has its own unique political sensitivities, issues that are potentially highly explosive if they become known to the general population of employees. If such issues are within your own area, then putting your employees in the middle of the line of fire in a potentially explosive situation is unfair. As a manager, you’re paid to make the difficult decisions and to take the political heat that your work generates.