I learned the hard way—and I have the scars to prove it. When I was in university, I managed the pub nights at our college within Western University. Yes, I had to “hire” staff to bartend, clean up, bounce, etc. Then I had to manage them. Later I got into restaurant management business, and eventually, night club management. This meant that I had assistant managers as well as staff when I was general manager. So, I had to manage managers too! Then I was in sales and had to manage accounts from sales through fulfilment and renewal. Ugh!
There are many aspects of management, but the toughest for me was delegation. I learned that, if you cannot delegate, you cannot manage. I don’t care if it is accounts, people, or product—if you cannot delegate, you cannot manage. I was blessed with great leadership when I started in management after university. I learned that there are two aspects to delegation—learning how to delegate and learning how to let go. Here is what got me through these two important elements.
In learning how to delegate, I was presented with a simple acronym. It was SMART.
S – Specific. What exactly is the task or what do we need to accomplish?
M – Measurable. How can we measure success, or more importantly, how will we know when we are done?
A – Attainable. Can the person to whom I assigned this duty or task actually do it? Is he or she capable of completing it?
R – Relevant. How will this help me/us achieve a bigger goal or objective (such as making budget, expanding our portfolio, reducing labor costs, etc.)?
T – Time Dependant. When must we do this work and when must it be completed?
When I applied the SMART test, I did OK. When I veered from it, chaos ensued. Enough said!
Step Two of successful delegation was learning to let go and trust others. I had a tough time with this. Perhaps it was ego, fear of the unknown, or lack of trust. Whatever it was, I didn’t think anyone, especially my assistant managers, could do the job as well as I. I had to learn to let them (an assistant, producer, fulfilment person, etc.) take the task and complete it on their own. Unless they did it on their own, they would not learn. They had to make their own mistakes, but for a long time, I did their work for them. Today we call people who do this “helicopter parents.” But eventually, I learned when it dawned on me that I was doing both their jobs and mine!
Being able to manage well means you need to learn to delegate. If you follow the SMART steps, and learn to trust and let go, you will do well. If you want to hear more from great leaders in our industry, I encourage you to check out the following link and conferences – WSC. Click through for more information on WSC Ontario – Toronto Forum or the WSC Alberta Forum.
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