I recently wrote an article on workplace burnout. This is a big-time problem in the workplace today – in particular, most managers we work with talk about how they do not have enough time in the day. A study by McKinsey indicates that just 9% of managers are satisfied with how they spend their time overall and only 52% say they spend an adequate amount of time on strategic priorities.
So how can managers do a better job managing their time? We find that many managers who are elevated into their positions continue to perform tasks that are a level below their current position.
For example, an Accounting Manager might continue to run financial reports as the manager rather than delegating that to the person who replaced them as a Staff Accountant. Or the newly promoted Sales Manager might continue to hold on to certain accounts rather than transferring those relationships over to the new Sales Representative. Why does this phenomena occur? Here are a few reasons we have observed:
- Desire to stay in the “comfort zone” – holding on to tasks they feel confident in
- Perfectionism – nobody can do the job as well as I can
- Misconception about time – it is quicker to do it myself, rather than train someone else
What is the result of this type of behavior? The manager ends up failing to manage. Instead of motivating and tending to the needs of their employees, the manager performs tasks from their old job function. But the result is often even worse than that; the manager quickly erodes trust with employees because they take away opportunities for their employees to do their job. Back to the Accounting Manager – think about how the Staff Accountant feels when the manager runs the financial reports. The Staff Accountant is not only being blocked from developing new skills, but they likely feel like the Accounting Manager does not trust them to perform this important task.
In our blog two weeks ago, we talked about trust as a pillar of leadership. By not delegating, managers are likely destroying the trust factor with their employees. When the Sales Manager holds on to key accounts, they are sending a clear message to the Sales Representative that they do not trust them to properly handle the account.
One of the key functions of a manager is to delegate tasks – this frees up important time for the manager, promotes training and development with their employees and ultimately improves trust in the workplace. We have developed a simple delegation tool for managers and encourage you to download it below and think through how you can continue to improve as a leader by managing your time more wisely. Let us know what you think – is the tool helpful? Do you have a positive experience with delegation to share? We would love to hear from you!