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How to delegate responsibilities between heads of departments and the CEO of the company cover

How to delegate responsibilities between heads of departments and the CEO of the company

What are the ingredients of a successful leader? Among the answers about strong-willed character, strategic thinking, decisiveness, and so on, you will surely name a delegation. It would seem that it could be easier than handing out tasks for someone else to do them. In theory, yes, but in practice, leaders, especially beginners, find this process difficult. There can be many reasons for this.

To identify the root of the problem, it is worth remembering who becomes the head of the department?These are the best people in their industry. For example, in our company yesterday's developers did an excellent job with technical duties, but they got lost when new, previously unfamiliar managerial tasks appeared. And there were only two ways: to hire people from outside or to train our employees. We chose the second variant.

How to delegate?

There are many options for learning how to delegate. Every leader has his own methodology. Tools that helped our managers in this are the following.

  1. Practical cases. We hold weekly meetings with top managers, where we collect feedback on what has already been done, what results we have achieved and what we plan to do next. At these meetings, we analyze cases on management. These can be situations that we personally encountered, and cases from someone else's practice that seemed interesting to work through. What is the point? Using a practical example, we can identify errors and shortcomings in management, express opinions, discuss how to eliminate them and prevent them in the future.
  2. Analysis of future tasks. As the head of the department learned the conclusions of past cases, we look at new tasks. How long will it take to execute? Can a task be delegated to another performer? To what extent? What will be the result? These questions must be answered by the head (first of all, by himself) in order to start delegating and not bury himself in unnecessary work.
  3. Articles and books. Yes, practice is the best way to acquire skills. Until a person understands from his own experience, even if it is negative, it will be difficult to teach him something. But practice, not supported by theory, is just shaking the air. Is it necessary to read books on delegation? We think it is, and not only on delegation, but on management in general. To put the picture into a single puzzle, you need to approach the task from different angles. There is a very good book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni, which is useful for understanding the role of the boss in general and his main function. 

What are the most common delegation issues?

Wrong assignment. Put yourself in the place of the performer and read the task - is it clear to you? Are the goals stated? Are there specific deadlines and results?

The wrong statement of the problem sounds like:

“We need to rebrand the site.”

The correct statement of the problem sound like:

“We need to rebrand the site by March to increase conversions by 20 percent.”

The difference is obvious. Without the end result, there is no understanding of where to move and how. If the leader does not say what he wants to see as a result, there is a chance that he will not get what was expected initially. We advise you to pay attention to the SMART model when setting tasks for both performers and yourself.

SMART is a management technique that allows you to make abstract goals understandable and measurable, to determine the timing and means to achieve them.

Lack of clear deadlines. The SMART methodology involves not only the setting of specific tasks and results, but also the deadlines, as noted above. If there are no clear deadlines - the project is not moving or is moving, but very slowly. What do we get as a result? The leader takes over the previously delegated functions and makes another mistake. The second fuckup for one project is an unacceptable situation.

Wrong choice of the performer. An unacceptable situation, although often encountered, is the wrong choice of the performer. Not all team members can be equally effective in solving similar problems. In the same way, not all bosses can be bosses, speaking from the position of the head of the company. What to do? It is healthy to evaluate the previous results of the work and draw conclusions about one's strengths and weaknesses.

High expectations. Analyzing the capabilities of the team will immediately determine the expectations from the result of its work. Do not overestimate them, but soberly evaluate, and sometimes even underestimate your ideas about beauty. We constantly conduct retrospectives of the work done to understand at what level the team is now, what can be improved next time to make the result even more impressive.

Lack of control or feedback. The head of the department is a priori a person whom the manager trusts. But unobtrusive intermediate control should be at all stages of management in the format of collecting feedback so that the manager is aware of the processes and can help at the right time. Since it is not our method to trigger employees with our constant control, we just keep our finger on the pulse, without excesses.

And always, always think about further scaling. When designing a database, developers analyze how it will perform as the load increases. It’s the same in business – building processes and delegation needs to be thought out with a perspective: what will happen if the team expands by 100, 200, 300 or more people? Will everything still work well or do we need to create new departments and delegate some processes further. And most importantly, decide what functions the heads of departments should have, and where you can not do without the CEO.

What functions to delegate to heads of departments?

  • Department’s management and its development (including training and employees’ skills improvement): holding internal meetings, distribution of tasks.
  • Local issues (conflict resolution, personnel changes within the department, including dismissal, etc.).
  • Quality control of the work of the department and its employees.
  • Feedback on the results of work for performers and the CEO.
  • Preparation of proposals for the growth and development of the company.

What functions does the CEO of the company take on?

A reasonable question arises: what then remains for the head of the company? The functions of the head of the company are no less diverse, but more responsible.

Establishing communication between departments. One way or another, the leader acts as a link between all the departments of the company. He decides which department to entrust this or that task, sets deadlines and organizes the interaction between all departments in the process of solving it.

Presentation of ideas for the development of the company and consideration of proposals from top managers. The leader, like no one else, is interested in promoting the company, therefore he should be the most active and full of ideas, but also listen to the opinions and advice from top management. It is not worth extinguishing the ideas of employees, the initiative should not be punished, but encouraged.

Feedback and control of results. At the stage of leadership, this is the most important thing. All the fuckups allowed at this level can have irreversible consequences for the company.

Meetings with partners of the company. And finally, the last, but one of the most important functions is to establish relationships with potential and existing partners. All high-level business processes are solved in the presence of company leaders from both sides.

Now let's recap. Delegation is the key to the success of large companies. The wider the staff becomes, the greater the need for a redistribution of tasks. Ignoring the inevitable is the path to personal burnout or the collapse of the entire company. To prevent this from happening, approach the matter wisely and start the process of delegating unnecessary functions in time.