Delegation is harder than it looks. When managers come into the classroom they are quick to report how busy they are and how they really don't have time for training. One of the assessments we use asks if they regularly take work home. A majority of the managers report that they routinely work evenings as well as weekends. They tell stories of being highly stressed and feeling guilty about neglecting their families because of the amount of time they spend working. For a few, it seems to be a badge of honor, but most state that they know it clearly damages their health and relationships. This theme of overwhelm is strong and people often express a helplessness, saying they cannot escape it.
We study how effective managers behave, how to build trust and credibility and how to set goals. Then, we come to the module on delegation. The very people who report being overwhelmed state that they cannot give up ANY of the tasks that take up their time. We work on a case study where we evaluate a manager's workload and determine what is appropriate to delegate. It's very revealing. Many managers tend to hold tight to both their tactical and strategic work and not take the time to teach and coach their direct reports. When asked to explain their decisions, people cite a variety of answers: they don't trust their employees, they are worried about their job security, they don't want to be seen as a boss who "dumps" work on their employees, they are the subject matter experts, and the list goes on.
In the classroom, we show people how they can exponentially multiply their effectiveness as a result of good delegation. Their employees get to learn and grow and the managers themselves gain a reputation as a strong people developer, which by the way, is a large part of what an effective manager does.