How to delegate: Boost productivity without micromanagement

By Robert Half on 19th October 2014

A smart leader knows not to micromanage and handhold, but rather to communicate and delegate. Chasing around each and every employee to check up on their progress will waste time, kill office morale and hinder productivity. At a time when the business is calling for more from the finance function, it's clear to see why nearly a quarter of CFOs expect higher work volumes and a great need for efficient time management by 2020. 

Your accounting and finance professionals are the right candidates — after all, they were hired for a reason. To lead your team to success, you must be able to master the art of delegation. When you entrust your staff with new responsibilities, you invest in the future of the organisation by developing a motivated, skilled and highly productive workforce. In the long run, that can help your firm or department achieve its wider, big-picture goals.

Give the gift of delegation

First, remember that randomly dumping your work on others isn’t delegating. Not only is it unfair, it’s impractical. That being said, you need to focus on overarching objectives without getting bogged down by the details of payroll processes and credit checks. These are tasks your staff are more than capable of handling. With each new delegated task, your employees get the opportunity to fine-tune their technical abilities and soft skills, becoming better problem-solvers, project managers and decision-makers. These opportunities deepen the knowledge they already possess by allowing them to use their skills in broader contexts and new scenarios.

Delegate to develop your team

Trust your employees and they will pay you back with loyalty and higher productivity. When you learn how to delegate effectively, you develop more well-rounded employees. Showing confidence in your workers also strengthens relationships and helps boost morale. In fact, many companies are (and finding success) with giving people flexible working, not only for their employees but for the business too.

Reap the benefits of smart delegation

Learning how to delegate strategically starts with carefully evaluating each employee’s strengths. This not only makes you a better manager, it allows you to capitalise on your employees’ abilities and interests. You can maximise your team’s output only if you delegate duties to the right people.

Divide and conquer the workload

Examine each task and then consider how to delegate effectively. There will be a few jobs that only you as a manager can do, while other projects will call for employees with specific skill sets. You obviously wouldn’t ask a financial analyst to perform an unexpected audit, for example. There will also be tasks that most staff members can handle, which you should distribute equally.

Roll with the punches

When you relinquish duties or projects, you also let go of some authority and control. Keep in mind that mistakes will inevitably occur, even if you think your directions are clear. This is a natural part of any learning process and despite setbacks, your team will emerge on the other side wiser and more experienced. If you want to improve productivity in the long run, you have to take some risks.

Know when to call for help

If you’re buried under a pile of work and even delegation won’t dig you out, consider tapping a recruitment consultancy that specialises in accounting and finance. Recruitment specialists can draw on a vast pool of highly skilled and experienced professionals to quickly find the right fit for your needs.

Once you’ve quelled the micromanager in you, make learning how to delegate a priority. Empowering your workforce improves the bottom line, which is beneficial for management, staff and clients. Loosen the reins, explore the full potential of your newly macromanaged team and enjoy the resulting success.

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