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    Can you allow discussion and still keep control?

Might this London UK effective delegation skills training
raise your sights about what you can achieve
as a manager?

What does it mean to have good delegation skills?

The meaning of delegation in management is trusting others to find their own solutions to problems, and to let them get on with the task without the manager believing they have to do everything themselves.  It might involve the manager holding back from giving advice and only offering it when they are certain that it is needed.  A manager is better at developing people if they are comfortable delegating, as it allows others to think for themselves.  A leader who is good at delegating encourages others to take responsibility and use their own initiative.

A manager with delegation skills may take on a role of mentor, coach or counsellor to help the other person explore their own thoughts, feelings and concerns about how to get the task done. A leader who delegates work effectively might ask open questions to get to the heart of the problem before trying to solve it, such as "Why are you so concerned?", "How have you tried to tackle it?", and "What do you think the main obstacle is?"

When people have been trusted and delegated to they are encouraged to think for themselves they respond better to these kinds of questions because it makes them feel more understood because their manager is more interested in what they think, and is therefore more satisfying to talk to.  When their manager does give advice they are more confident in it because they’ve shown a better understanding of the difficulties.  

Why is the art of delegation difficult?

Most managers and professional people assume the role of Problem Solver.   A Problem Solver, like the doctor doing a diagnosis, asks for facts and tries out ideas. So, they have to take control of the discussion.  They take pride in the role and often feels under great pressure to produce a solution. If they are have got used to the role of Problem Solver leaders may not have got into the habit of delegating very often. It’s because they may be the expert on a technical matter that they may become frustrated with other people being much slower at arriving at solutions.  They may find it hard to delegate because they are nervous about leaving things up to less qualified, or less confident, or less experienced people may be slower, less efficient, or less effective.

However, although people who struggle to think through a problem for themselves may initially welcome help from a manager who does the bulk of the thinking for them, there are some serious limitations with delegating reluctantly.  The manager who takes on too much, without delegating any of the responsibility is not very good at developing people because they are kept dependent on the manager.  A manager who is unwilling or unable to delegate effectively runs the risk of committing to more work than they can deliver, which is likely to jeopardise their reputation if they start missing deadlines.  They may also end up taking on so much work that they burn out.

How does a good leader delegate effectively?

Good leaders who are interested in developing people, making others feel valued and respected, and are keen to share the workload by delegating work effectively, and safely can develop their delegation skills, in the following three ways;-

A typical example of a manager who struggled to delegate effectively

Here is an example of how learning to delegate effectively can help other people to have more confidence in your abilities to manage a heavy workload.  People come on our delegation skills training course because they want to know how to delegate work effectively without losing control.  Over the years lots of participants who have attended our delegation skills training course wanting to develop their delegation skills, and have come because of issues just like this.  Does this ring any bells for you or someone you know?

The problem - a manager not very confident about how to delegate to others 

Senior manager who was better at solving problems than anyone else in his team, but the more he solved the longer was the queue at his door.  His director was getting worried because the manager was working very long hours, and beginning to show signs of strain.  He was missing some of his deadlines.  And he was finding it necessary, when managerial vacancies occurred in his department, to recruit from outside rather than to promote from within because there was no-one ready in the department to fill the vacancies. Although he started out showing great promise it was beginning to look as though he might not be able to go as far in his career as both he and others had hoped.  The director had told him he needed to change his style of management - to delegate more and to concentrate on developing his team - but although he tried, and in spite of his good intentions, he did not seem able to keep it up.

The diagnosis – why was this manager unable (or unwilling) to delegate?

He was very good at solving problems, and it was this that made him so successful in the early days. So much so that it had become a habit. As soon as someone brought him a problem he would mentally take it over and solve it.  Unfortunately, the effect this habit of response had on others was to prevent them from delegating to others and enabling them to develop their own ability to solve problems.  It resulted in them lacking confidence in their ability to think for themselves and in them becoming increasingly dependent on him.  This in turn caused him to lose confidence in them, making him even less willing to delegate responsibilities to them, and so things went from bad to worse. The irony was that by being so good at solving problems he was digging a pit from which it was becoming harder and harder to escape.  His compulsive problem-solving had become a habit that was threatening his career if he wasn’t able to start delegating, and although the habit was a hard one to break he was going to have to change.

The mental obstacles to change – what was putting him delegating effectively?

For this manager there were two main mental obstacles to change, and both would have to be overcome if the change was to be genuine and lasting.  The first was his strong but deep-seated conviction that it if he could not produce the answer himself he would be seen to be failing in his job, so delegation was not an option.  The second was the pace at which he worked - his permanent sense of time pressure.  He always felt he did not have time to coach others - that it would be much quicker to sort the problem out himself.  He was therefore unwilling to delegate to others.  So, no change would be possible or permanent unless he was able to give up the need to be seen to be the one providing the answer, and unless he was able to slow down his responses when faced with a problem.

The remedy – how did he develop his delegation skills?

He first needed to be made clearly aware of the habit that was causing him the problem, and of the mental obstacles he would have to overcome.  He needed to realise and accept that although it started out as a strength, it had, in effect, become an obstacle to progress, that changing a habit is not easy but that his career depended on it.  Then he needed to learn how to shift the focus of his attention when someone brought him a difficulty from tackling it himself to finding out what was stopping them tackle it.  This was an entirely different way of listening.  He had never listened like this before, and at first he felt strange and uncomfortable doing it.  But with specific coaching, encouragement, practice and persistence he learned how to slow down, set aside his own thoughts about how to solve a problem, and pay attention instead to other people’s thoughts.   In this way he was able to start coaching people, win back control over his working day, change his style of management, became more comfortable delegating to others and rescue his career.

Free exploratory coaching session

INTERESTED?

If so, you can have a FREE exploratory coaching session. It'll give you a foretaste of what you can get from the course. You make no commitment to proceed beyond this until you're sure this training is relevant to your own particular need.

How to accept this offer

Simply contact us for a preliminary chat and to arrange your free exploratory coaching session. 

What this session will do for you

In this session we'll aim to give you something practical you can use right away that'll help you handle a difficult situation more successfully at work. All you need do to prepare for this session is think about the kinds of situations you want to be able to handle more successfully.

FAQs

You'll find answers to many of your questions about the content and method of this course under FAQs (in the main menu above).

We love helping you communicate successfully

By giving you communication skills that'll transform even your most challenging relationships and interactions.

That's the purpose of Skills with People, our training course for managers and professional people at all levels. Thousands have benefited from this course.

What People Have Said About The Course

Feedback from participant's boss - a Kimberley-Clark marketing director

He is now aware of his need to control his direct approach. He was sometimes too assertive. I think he is now well balanced in this respect.

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Golf Club Manager

Ten out of ten for the course for me personally. I think I would have resigned if it hadn't been for the course.

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Feedback from participant's boss - an HSBC investment director

I have had three unprompted comments from different team members and colleagues who have been surprised at the consideration he has shown in helping s ...

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Senior Engineer, Qualcomm

An unbelievable experience, highly motivating training and one of the few which stays forever in your mind. A tangible impact to your life and workin ...

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National Training Index* report on the course

"From delegates reports we have identified Skills with People is a 'highspot' among UK business courses. Delegates mentioned as most helpful the enha ...

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Leisure Centre Manager

The most useful part of the course was learning how to convey my disappointment with a member of staff without demotivating them, without making them ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - A Philips Semiconductors director

To what extend do I think his training need has been satisfied? Completely. I have been approached by 4 peers to tell me that they could see a very po ...

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Theatre Manager

Managing to confront them but still maintain their cooperation and support. Previously I was either not confronting or confronting and ending up with ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Johnson & Johnson finance director

He has made excellent progress in the management of his team. He has ensured key stakeholders are involved in decision-making and has gone to great le ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Prudential director

He is a lot more confident. At the last meeting of our business unit leaders he fully led the meeting and dealt with people very well.

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Sports Centre Manager

I feel that my relationship with other attendees has improved massively following the session. I'd say 9/10 for what I've got from the course as I sa ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Billiton director

He's obviously making a positive effort and it does show. People used to be scared of him. No longer.

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Feedback from a participant's boss - a Shell International senior manager

He is showing far more self-awareness and more restraint in potentially confrontational situations. He is far more aware of the impact his actions and ...

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Senior Resource Consultant, Shell International

“Skills with People” has helped me deal with conflict situations.  It has helped me to diffuse tension in meetings and convert pushback into alignment ...

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Feedback from a participant's boss - a Merck Sharp & Dohme medical director

She feels more confident in tackling people and has been impressed with her new found techniques, e.g., in dealing with members of the marketing depar ...

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Thank you from a participant

I wanted to let you know that I have secured a new role.  I had to go through an assessment centre and one challenge was to negotiate with a 'belliger ...

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Feedback from a participant's boss - a WS Atkins director

Now he actively listens, probes, asks for clarifications and does not assume anymore he knows the answer.

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Feedback from participant's boss - Chairman of White Clarke Group

He has greatly improved his ability to manage a situation. He listens more and uses that information to convince. A good example is the .... group, wh ...

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Learning & Development Coordinator - The Entertainer

I can't recommend this course enough. It has genuinely been the most impactful course I have ever completed. Understanding that I can be assertive w ...

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Workshop Manager, Professional Plant Services

I now find it easier to have awkward conversations. (As a result of how he has changed several more people from his company are asking to attend the c ...

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Feedback from a participant's boss - a Glaxo SmithKline research director

He has made good progress in two areas: 1. team leadership - he listens with empathy to others well and considers their standpoint as well as his own. ...

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Project Quality Engineer (self funding)

A lesson for life! The power of effective communication is incredible when one masters the skills "listen with empathy" / "speak assertively". Defin ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Johnson Matthey Catalysts (Germany) senior manager

There has been a noticeable improvement in the performance of this customer service engineer. He is much more succinct now than he was before. He was ...

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Fundraising Officer, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)

A very intimate training which will make anyone reflect on how best to engage with colleagues when confronted with difficult situations.

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The wife of a participant

"Just thinking about last night’s conversation and it’s bringing tears to my eyes – it’s what I’ve always wanted: to be able to talk with you like tha ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Johnson & Johnson marketing director

She has become increasingly aware and focussed on ensuring she is gaining cooperation from colleagues by the way she approaches situations. E.g., Meet ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - head of projects in Heinz

He now gains support through his willingness to involve people more and take them with him.

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EHS advisor (environmental health and safety), Johnson Matthey

This is the best non-techincal course the company has ever put me on because it's the most useful. 

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Examples of Training Needs Met

Difficulty communicating with non-technical people Read More...
Allowed his meetings to get out of hand Read More...
Respected specialist who was too quiet at meetings Read More...
Not delegating or developing others Read More...
Very logical but not creating enough rapport Read More...
Very diligent but hated dealing with difficult people Read More...
Enormous enthusiasm but little sensitivity Read More...
Had a positive attitude but gave a negative impression Read More...
Well intentioned but demoralising his team Read More...
Flying high but creating a tense atmosphere Read More...
Lots of energy and ideas but little attention for his clients Read More...
Being more assertive would help career go better Read More...
Preparing for a more challenging role Read More...
Technically very sound but lacking persuasive skills Read More...
Forceful communicator who created friction Read More...

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