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Nurturing Professional Growth Through Delegation

What does delegation mean to you? Some individuals see delegation as an avenue to assign the work they don’t want to do. However, great leaders see delegation as tool to develop others professionally.

To me, delegation is also a form of empowering others to act as our representatives. I specifically use delegation to analyze and navigate performance challenges and to develop my staff. Below are a few of the benefits of effective delegation:

  • High levels of productivity
  • Improved efficiency and effectiveness
  • Passionate and motivated team members
  • Staff members develop new skills on a consistent basis

I have utilized the following tools to be successful at delegation:

  • Identify what to delegate and who you should delegate to: Good managers know that they don’t have to do everything themselves. Select the right team member by considering their readiness, interests, reliability and current workload.
  • Define the responsibility: Clearly communicate expectations, expected accomplishments, due dates and other teams that should be involved. Also, clearly define the level of authority you transfer to your subordinate.
  • Enable the delegate to achieve the goals: Serve as a resource by sharing all available resources, potential workarounds, shortcuts and stumbling blocks you’ve discovered. Remain interested and available for check-ins.
  • Assess the performance and reward results: Provide feedback about what is done well and areas for improvement. Be clear upfront that you’ll be doing this so the delegate feels supported. Also, be generous with recognition and praise.
  • Maintain responsibility for outcomes: Managers should take responsibility for mistakes and not pretend that it’s the fault of the delegate when mistakes are made. This will help maintain trust among the team.

Delegation for professional development is something that should be a part of the managerial responsibility. Effective delegation develops people who are ultimately more fulfilled and productive.

Malissa Lewis serves as the Chief of the Loan Repayment Branch in Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Bureau of Health Workforce. She leads a team of 19 analysts who work to strengthen the health care workforce and build healthy communities through the administration several workforce loan repayment programs. Prior to the Loan Repayment Branch, she served as a section chief in the Division’s Scholarship Branch. Malissa has over 11 years of public health experience and leadership experience.

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