Currently I am reading “Management” and “Delegating and Supervision” books.
One of the key points that I learned is that:
As a manager, you should multiply your efforts by delegating the work and supervising your staffs. The more staffs you have, the more you are supposed to be able to accomplish. Not the other way around.
Some managers may think that they need to know everything, to do everything, to be in all meetings and ended up having too much workload, and the company cannot operate efficiently.
Sometimes, when your team cannot accomplish what it is supposed to accomplish, you need to reflect back, are you the bottleneck? Do you require your team to discuss every single thing with you? Do you require approval for every single thing? That when you’re not in the office, it’s like everything hits on the brake pedal – everything cannot run because you are not there to approve them.
If your team is unable to function at their best when you’re out a few days for meetings or training, that means you’re the cause of the bottleneck. Once this happens, you will cry out to the top management that you don’t have enough staffs and requested to add more staffs. However, truthfully, if you don’t solve the bottleneck issues, even if you have 100 people reporting to you, you can make things that is supposed to finish in 1 day can take 1 month (or probably more, since there are 100 people now waiting for your approval for every single matters).
So, how to remove this bottleneck?
First step: Find out what is the bottleneck
Where is the bottleneck? Let’s reflect:
1) Do you require approval for every single issue even minor thing?
2) Do you need to go to every single meeting when your staff can actually handle it?
3) Do you bring too many people to attend a meeting? Having more than necessary people to attend a meeting is a waste of time and resources.
4) Do you require your staffs to discuss every single thing with you before taking any action?
Note: Please refer to the picture below. If you require approval for each time your staff wants to put a puzzle piece together (even though he already knows that it is right, the work will be delayed each time you’re not there. However, if you allow them to make some decisions themselves, they are able to build the jigsaw puzzle until its completion even when you’re not there to shout out instructions and to approve every single matters. A good manager ensures all work is done efficiently even if he is not there for some period of time.
Rule of thumb for delegation is, if there is another person on your team that can do the work at 70% as good as you, you should delegate the work to him or her.
However, if it takes you only 5 minutes to complete something and it takes the other person 5 days, then, obviously you should do that work by yourself.
From my own experience, about 5-6 years ago, I tend to do everything by myself because I felt that I do the work much faster and can accomplish more in a short time (even now I still feel the same way, but now I’m getting much better at delegation ^_^). I felt that explaining things to other people is taking up my precious time and I’m afraid that they will screw up the work and I ended up have to redo everything again.
However, one day, someone stopped me and told me, if I want to become a manager, I have to trust my employees more. And the employees will appreciate it too as they can grow, assuming more responsibilities and they will feel they are more important to the company. This is also a factor that contribute to talent retention rate of the company.
And from then on, I learn to grow myself into the manager level and I try to grow my employees by giving them more on the job training, trusting them with more responsibilities and delegating work more effectively. And alhamdulillah, it seems that it works out well.
By the way, just as a reminder, there is no way somebody is already 100% capable to do something new. You just have to stretch it a bit. Let them do something that is a little bit extra than what you perceive their capability is. Sometimes, you don’t know that you actually have a hidden gem in your team and you need to take some risks to discover it.
Give them some space to make decisions – teach them how to make a good decision and if there is a guideline that they need to follow. This will allow them to make good decisions for the company and accomplish their work better and faster.
Third Step: Throw them into the situation and let them flourish
Truthfully, when it comes to women members of my team, I tend to “manja”kan them a bit. I discovered my tendency now and I am currently rectifying my mistake.
Before this, I always thought, why my men staff members almost always outperform the women ones. Why? Is it true that men are better than women?
After scrutinizing at my own previous decisions, I realized that I am the one that made them that way. I “manjakan” my girls at the office too much. How? By saying “okay, you can present next time” when they informed me that they are afraid or they are not yet ready. However, if a man staff came to me saying that they are afraid, well, guess what? I tended to give them motivation and still ask them to present. For my men staff, I often give them some training to prepare, and then throw them into the situation and let them flourish. But for my girl staff, I often feel “kesian” to throw them into the situation even after I gave the same training that I’ve given to my men staff. Oh my…. why didn’t I realize this sooner.
Due to I always demanded good performance from my men staff while maintaining “tak apa” attitude with my women staff, I can see at my workplace that the men usually outperforms the women. And it’s all due to my own mistake.
It’s the matter of giving them the opportunity and practice to upgrade their skills. Throw them into the situation. As an example, when I accompany my men staff to a meeting, I asked them to present. However, when I go to a meeting with my girls, I am usually the one that is presenting. Therefore, my girls did not get the opportunity to show their presentation skills and did not get much practice like the men staff had.
Now, I am changing. I am demanding the same performance from men and women alike. No more “tak apa” attitude.
So, from here, you can see that, “throwing” your staff into a situation can be a part of training, to enable them to take care of the situation, give them practice and grow them to the next level. Once you give them space to grow, you can also grow to the next level as well, as they can assume more responsibilities and minimize having to depend on your for a lot of things. From this, you can run your company more efficiently and effectively.