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Many high-performance managers feel overwhelmed by the deluge of daily obligations that inundate their lives. The unique role of the high-performance program and manager, positioned on the organizational flow chart between the sports and assistant coaches, administration, and athletes allows for a centralized sphere of influence and problem-solving capability.
The engaged manager can feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of problems and tasks that reach their desk through the communication platforms available today. These platforms, such as email, text, group chat, phone, video call, athlete management, and HIPAA/FERPA compliant systems, often overtake a manager’s bandwidth for productive work.
Perhaps you are in this situation, and perhaps it has been exacerbated by the current climate and reliance, or over-reliance, upon technology to increase productivity. You are not alone and in recent years, this topic has been explored in many self-help books and even by some strength and conditioning coaches such as Ron McKeefery, in his book CEO Strength Coach.
The purpose of this article is to return your focus to a tried and true method for increasing the team’s productivity while fostering the necessary environment for achieving desirable results THROUGH people using sufficient and well-suited resources.
In business, they call this delegation. Oftentimes, high-performance managers view delegation as an abdication of duty. Far from it. Effective delegation is a primary methodology in the engagement, empowerment, and development of a high-performance staff. The effective delegation of appropriate projects, tasks, or functions (multiple tasks) advances the level of trust between leadership and staff.
More simply, to get trust, you must first give trust, and delegation is one way to do so.
As coaches, managers, and/or leaders we are expected to be problem solvers and decision-makers. However, problem solvers and decision-makers are needed at all levels within the organizational and departmental flow chart and effective leadership should support staff members in making decisions for themselves within the framework of the stated mission, vision, values, and outcome goals.
Many might view delegation as the simple assignment of tasks. Much like a training prescription, a simple list of activities to be completed. As coaches, we know there is much more to a training prescription than the words on the page. There is the person. The same applies to delegating tasks and assignments to staff.
Once you have taken the time to connect with each of your employees, as well as generate a suitable list of projects, tasks, of functions, it is time to begin the process of delegating the assignments to the appropriate staff member(s). Finding the right person, or people, for the job is a matter of utilizing the information collected in the planning process.
Upon matching the right staff member(s) to the assignment approach them with a proposal rather than an order.
Allow them to accept or deny the assignment based upon their desires, goals, time constraints, or other personal influences. Then, should they accept, give them the authority and support to see it through. Clear and open communication accompanied by your trust are pivotal factors in the successful completion of the assignment.
Your job, and it is essential, is to ensure that those you support do not fail!
As stated previously, assignments should be used as opportunities for engagement, empowerment, and development of a high-performance staff. And here’s the key - for both your staff AND for you!
Upon completion of the assignment, it is vital for all key stakeholders in the project, task, or function to review the consequential successes, failures, and bottlenecks.
Entrusting your staff members to tackle projects can be an incredible feeling and oftentimes, open up your other skills as a leader, mentor, or educator. But there are certain tasks that you should not delegate.
If you can sharpen your delegating skill set, let go of the “I like having things done my way” impediment, and exude confidence in your staff, your work life will be changed forever.
Imagine for a moment, a world where your inbox isn’t at capacity, you’re not up at 4:00am to meet a deadline, your staff morale is high, your turnover is low, and the productivity of your high-performance department reaches new heights.
Delegating is a show of trust, it provides employees experience and aids in their development - and developing people is part of your job.
Manager's Tool Kit: The 13 Skills Managers Need To Succeed. (Harvard Business Essentials, Compiler). (2004). Harvard Business School Press. 2/20/21
Wren, D. A. (2005). A History of Management Thought (5th ed.). John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2/18/21
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