5 Steps to Delegating Right and Reducing Your Stress

5 Steps to Delegating Right and Reducing Your Stress

Effective delegation is an essential supervisory skill. Any supervisor or manager must learn to delegate effectively in order to accomplish his or her goals. By definition, to supervise the work of others means that you have to take time away from the technical aspects of your job and tend to the people side of things. Therefore, because time resources are finite, you must remove some of the work you were previously able to accomplish on your own from your task-list in order to make time for performance management and leadership tasks. And because that work still must be completed, you will need to delegate it to your staff.

In this post I summarize the barriers and benefits of delegating, and offer a step-by-step process to help you delegate successfully.

Read More

Training is Dead; Long Live Employee Development

headphones coffee cereal book by Kevin_Morris via Flickr Creative Commons.jpg

When I first told my husband about the idea for writing a book about employee development OUTSIDE the classroom and outside 'the box', he responded, “You mean, you’re going to write yourself out of a job?” Why would someone who makes her living through facilitating learning (aka 'Training'), often within a classroom or a formal learning program, try to help supervisors, HR and training professionals, and employees find ways to develop skills outside the classroom and without her help?

091152#3FCD5F.jpg

Well, I don’t think Employee Development on a Shoestring will put the training industry out of business. Far from it. I wrote this book because I am passionate about learning and development. I wrote this book because I am passionate about supporting leaders in their efforts to become more effective. And I wrote this book because often, training is simply not the answer.

It is estimated that 70 percent of all leadership development takes place via on-the-job experiences rather than formal learning events. The “70-20-10 rule,” as this idea has become known, says that development happens in three ways: 70 percent on-the-job experience, 20 percent through relationships and feedback, and 10 percent from formal training opportunities.

All over the world, supervisors and professionals like you are faced with a challenging task of helping their staff members grow and develop within limited budgets and timelines and ever-increasing pressures to perform more with less. Supervisors and employees desperately need alternatives and complements to the usual approach, because it is not enough. And so many of you are so overwhelmed with a growing workload that you simply don’t have the time or the requisite knowledge to come up with creative ideas for developing skills within the parameters that are presented to you.

Well, this book is here to help.

You don’t have to spend any time searching for ideas, because they’re right here in this book. You don’t have to spend time thinking up possible obstacles to each method—I’ve done that for you. And you don’t have to spend lots of time designing implementation plans because I’ve created the tools and supports that can help you quickly ensure that your employee development methods are successful and sustainable.

Who Can Benefit From Reading This Book?

Employee Development on a Shoestring is written primarily to address the needs of those in a position to help employees develop in their current jobs. Whether you are a supervisor, a manager, a director, or an executive, a key part of your role (“Job 1” as Elaine Biech puts it in her foreword to the book) is to ensure that employees are growing and learning. If you are a talent management, human resource, personnel, talent development, training, organization development, or workplace learning professional, your job is to ensure that supervisors throughout your organization are tending to this “Job 1.” Perhaps you are a mentor or career counselor or coach, and you are using this book to help your protégé or client make career development plans. And if you are a self-motivated, self-starting employee, you may enjoy reading this book to get ideas about how to take your development into your own hands rather than waiting for others to suggest strategies to you. Anyone who wants to ensure that employees are developing new skills and knowledge and who realizes that sending them to a training class cannot be, and should not be, the only path to achieve that outcome, should read and benefit from the ideas presented in this book.

Modified excerpt from the Introduction to Employee Development on a Shoestring by Halelly Azulay (ASTD Press, 2012)

Headphones image by Kevin_Morris via Flickr Creative Commons


Sign up to my free weekly newsletter and get more actionable tips and ideas for making yourself a better leader and a more effective communicator! It’s very short and relevant with quick tips, links, and news about leadership, communication, and self-development. Sign up now

Also, subscribe to my podcast, The TalentGrow Show, on iTunes to always be the first in the know about new episodes of The TalentGrow Show! http://apple.co/1NiWyZo 

You Might Also Like These Posts:

Employee Development on a Shoestring 'trailer' [video]

A cool tool to lighten your leadership workload AND develop your employees

7 Tips for Building Mentoring to Develop Employees and Raise Engagement

Retooling and Refreshing to Set Yourself Apart

JohnsonInsideGuideSuperx250.jpg

The following is an excerpt of a story I wrote for a new book called The Insider’s Guide to Supervising Government Employees, edited by Kathryn M. Johnson (Management Concepts Press 2011). The book is a collection of stories from many supervisors whose purpose is to help government supervisors (new and seasoned alike) navigate their responsibilities and challenges more successfully. It covers several key areas including understanding yourself, getting the best work from others, and supervising in a changing work landscape. In this particular story, I illustrate the importance of ongoing self-development to help supervisors continue to achieve success in their role. In my upcoming book, Employee Development on a Shoestring (ASTD Press, expected pub. date April 2012), I describe in much greater detail both the value and suggested approaches for many development methods that happen outside the classroom.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chris’ excitement was through the roof when he learned that he had been promoted. Finally! He was now officially a supervisor of a newly formed team in his agency. Chris felt a quiet confidence in his ability to excel as he emailed his mentor, Soo-Lin, to share the good news with her. After they scheduled their next monthly “coffee talk” meeting, Chris sat at his desk making lists of ideas and action items.

A few weeks later, Soo-Lin relaxed into her chair as she congratulated Chris once again on his accomplishment and listened to his tales of his first month as a supervisor. Sipping her coffee, she listened to his stories of excitement and frustration from her perspective of having been in supervisory roles in the federal government for the past 20 years.

“What are you doing to ramp up your supervisory skills, Chris?” Soo-Lin inquired.

“What do you mean?” asked Chris.

“Well, you have a whole new skill set you need to acquire, and fast. You will certainly learn on the job, but what are you doing to proactively enhance your skills?”

“I’m not sure I have any ideas. What do you suggest?” said Chris, looking at Soo-Lin quizzically.

Over the next hour, Soo-Lin shared with Chris some of the resources that she found helpful, including books, seminars, and training classes. But it was the story she told him that really got Chris thinking about how to keep his skills and knowledge fresh now and into the next stages of his career development.

“You know, when I first got promoted, there were no supervisory training classes offered and no resources given to me to prepare me for my new role. I had to learn as I went, the hard way. Things went very well for the first couple of years and my hard work was rewarded and rewarding.

“But then, things began to shift. I was no longer getting the results I wanted from my staff. They seemed unmotivated and deflated, and I felt frustrated with my job. I applied the same techniques that had worked before, but they were just not working in the same way. I felt really stuck and unhappy. Word got around that there might be a reorganization in our department and I started to worry that I might lose my job.

“That’s when I began to realize that I had become stale; my skills and knowledge were not sufficient to produce the performance results I wanted to see. I felt baffled and lost, so I started reading every management book in the library, searching for answers. I also started looking for role models to talk with, both inside and outside my office and agency. I was amazed how happy these successful supervisors were to share their ‘best practices’ and ‘lessons learned’ with me, and it was great to learn from them about things I could do or avoid doing—and not have to learn them the hard way! One told me that he attends the monthly meetings of our field’s professional association to learn new techniques and connect and network with other professionals with whom he collaborates and shares ideas. So I started attending these meetings also—what an eye-opening experience!

“What I learned, slowly but surely, is that your skills and knowledge need to be constantly upgraded and challenged. You can never rest on your laurels just because you have reached a certain rung on the career ladder; you need to keep working or you’ll find yourself falling off—or getting pushed off. And there are so many different ways available to help you retool, refresh, and learn.”

This is an exciting time to be a supervisor. You have the opportunity to influence others in a changing landscape. You will be challenged to handle day-to-day issues effectively in the context of an ever-evolving work environment. The best way to create a balance that serves both your employees and your organization well is to keep strengthening your personal capabilities as a supervisor. Only then will you be ready and able to help others envision and prepare to meet the demands of the 21st century government work environment.

More to Think About and Try

  • What are some books, training, and other resources you could access to upgrade your supervisory skills? Are there resources that would help you on an ongoing, continuous basis?
  • Who are some key people who could help you learn and develop your supervisory skills? Are there any groups you could join or people in your current network you could tap to become your mentors or “master-mind” group?
  • Can you branch out and increase your network to include role models and kindred spirits?
  • Can you find opportunities to bring supervisors together? Who can—and is willing to—share their lessons learned?

Excerpted with permission from The Insider’s Guide to Supervising Government Employees, edited by Kathryn M. Johnson. © 2011 by Management Concepts, Inc. All rights reserved. www.managementconcepts.com/pubs


Sign up to my free weekly newsletter and get more actionable tips and ideas for making yourself a better leader and a more effective communicator! It’s very short and relevant with quick tips, links, and news about leadership, communication, and self-development. Sign up now

Also, subscribe to my podcast, The TalentGrow Show, on iTunes to always be the first in the know about new episodes of The TalentGrow Show! http://apple.co/1NiWyZo 

You Might Also Like These Posts:

Employee Development on a Shoestring 'trailer' [video]

Training is Dead; Long Live Employee Development

5 Lessons on being a creative leader from three TalentGrow Show podcast guests