According to Estes (2003: 1), time management refers to the act of making an arrangement, carrying out organization, making a schedule, and making a budget for one’s time to make a generation of work that is more effective and productive. This act is of great importance not only to business leaders but to other people such as students, teachers, factory workers, and even home workers among other people.
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On the other hand, according to Anonymous (Effective delegation skill, 2002: 1), delegation is defined as the capacity to assign to people work, authority as well as responsibility in a most effective way. It is the ability of a person of getting work done through the utilization of other people’s work together with their time. This skill is quite critical for the manager to survive. It is quite important to make emphasize that the knowledge and understanding of this skill is a vital personal time management skill regardless of whether one has subordinates or bosses or regardless of the place from where one is operating. The skills of time management and delegation are very much closely related and move together.
Good Time Management
According to Anonymous (Dear managers – Are your staffs working efficiently? 2005: 1), the ineffective or inefficient manager may take a very long time to make plans for the organization, supervise the work and do the evaluate of the work done by another person than it would have taken the manager herself or himself to carry out the work. This author proposes that firing the staff is not the right solution to this problem. The solution lies in the management of this staff more effectively and efficiently. According to Anonymous (Management, 2009: Para. 24), since a manager is a very busy person, it is of great importance for him or her to manage his or her time in the best possible way. This calls for knowledge about how to allocate time to various areas and activities. A manager is often interrupted from time to time by phone calls or visitors coming into the office, holding meetings, addressing the issues of the workers among other factors that might not be controlled. It is all up to the manager to acquire knowledge on how best he or she can best use the available time to complete the tasks at hand most effectively and efficiently possible. The knowledge and skills of good management of time can be acquired through learning but the managers must be ready to arrange their activities in the order of priorities, delegate the duties, handle the interruptions, arrange the work, and carry out other tasks that will enable them to become good managers (Blair, n.d.: 36).
This is also echoed by Rees & Porter (2001:108). They state that the managers’ time is limited. They point out the importance of managers to handle their work following some order. There should be a list of priorities to have the most important tasks be handled before those that might be less important. If in any case some work has not been accomplished at the end of the day or has been passed over to others, this piece of work should be given relatively lower priority. Even though the less important task is not done in a better way, or even not done at all this is the appropriate behavior for the person in charge. It would not be sensible for a manager to perform the task of the clerk because he thought he could perform this task in a better way. Welcoming the risk of achieving a slightly lower level of performance by a subordinate is something quite insignificant as compared to the creation of more time for the manager to put much more concentration on a more significant job. The tasks performed at a lower level imply a likelihood of lower-cost being associated with the performance of these tasks. The cost, in this case, should not only be viewed from the perspective of the salary given to the person carrying out the task but is as well looked at from the perspective of the opportunity cost. By the opportunity cost, it means that consideration is put on the opportunity that is refused or brought about for the manager to carry out another task.
According to Anonymous (Delegation Skills, n.d: 1), delegation entails giving out responsibility to other people for the task to be completed. The delegation has much usefulness to the manager. For instance, the time when the people have learned to work with the manager, these people can take up the responsibility for that work that the manager might have no time to carry out. More so, the manager can develop people to take care of the routine jobs that might not be cost-effective when carried out by the manager. In addition, delegation carries out the transfer of work to people with skills in specific areas that are higher than those of the manager and this brings about saving time. The perfect level for the manager to reach is where his or her staff undertakes all the activities of his or her team. This brings about the manager being left with enough time to carry out planning, thinking, and bringing about improvement in the efficiency in whatever the manager is doing.
A good manager should carry out the duty of delegation in a most organized manner. Anonymous, (Delegation Skills. n.d.: 1), proposes some points that may help the manager in delegating the duties. The first point is about deciding on what to delegate. Among the ways of making a decision on what to delegate is to make a list of those things that the manager does but can be done by someone else in a more effective way or at a lower cost.
Another point is that the manager is supposed to carry out a selection of people who are able and willing to do the job. Good people will do a big job without the manager’s intervention. Those people who have no experience and are not reliable will require very close supervision for them to carry out the job in the right way. However, if the manager gives training, encourages, and provides practice to these people may bring about improvement in their abilities to undertake bigger jobs without necessarily being supervised.
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Another point is that the manager should delegate jobs that are complete. There is much more satisfaction for one to deal with one larger job than on several fragments of the job. If the manager delegates a task that is complete to an able assistant, the manager is likely to as well get back the neater, tightly integrated result.
More so, the manager should explain the reason as to why the job is performed and the kind of results that are expected. The manager should explain how the job that is delegated fits in the general picture of what he or she is striving at. The manager should make sure that he or she has communicated most appropriately the results that are to be expected, how important the job performed is, the limitation in which the job has to be undertaken, the time limit for the job, and the appropriate reporting dates when the manager needs information on how the project is going on.
At this point, the manager should then let go. Once it has been delegated by the manager, he or she should let his or her assistant get on with the task. The manager should make a follow-up on the progress of the project at the set dates that were agreed. The manager at this point should always bear in mind that his or her assistants may be aware of a better way of carrying out one thing or the other more than the manager him or herself. The manager should accept that there are various ways of carrying out a particular task as well as accepting that among the best ways of acquiring knowledge is through making mistakes. The manager should always accept mistakes that are not originating from idleness and those that offer lessons to those making them.
In addition, the manager should offer help and coaching whenever requested. The manager should give support to the subordinates in times of difficulties but should not do the job on their behalf to avoid them from failing to develop confidence in doing the job on their own.
More so, the manager should only accept jobs delegated that are complete. Since the main aim to delegate the job was to save time, this might not be realized since the manager will once more dedicate his or her time to complete the task and the assistant of the manager will not achieve the experience he or she requires in completing the projects.
And lastly but not least, the manager should give credit when the task has been accomplished. Recognizing the assistants by the manager publicly puts much strength in the joy of sharing success with the assistant who undertook the task as well as setting standards for the rest of the employees.
Obstacles to Delegation
Although managers may see the advantages of effective delegation and have the skills in effectively planning this management skill, the managers may still not be able to carry out delegation in the optimal manner that they can. Several barriers are there that hinder effective delegation by the managers. These barriers include:
Lack of Training: The managers in the organizations may not be having formal training or cannot learn on their job and develop under the guidance of their seniors.
Time: Ironically, the skill of delegation may take so much time. Time is spent on making identification on what the delegation is supposed to be all about. Time may also be spent on making an establishment on the right procedures of control and the time can as well be spent on offering training to the subordinates as well as briefing them.
A delegation is a form of investment of capital. The time that has been used to set it up may in turn yield some appreciatable dividends in the time to come. If the manager does not put in place a better plan of the delegation process, he or she may fail miserably and maybe be discouraged to attempt these efforts in the future.
Factors not within the managers’ control: Delegation by the managers might be barred in ways that are genuine such that they have no power to remove these barriers. The circumstances that bring about such a situation include unavailability of resources that may involve a shortage in staff in terms of number or skills. Another factor may be the climate within the organization that does not favor delegation. Another factor may be the manager’s lack of adequate powers, absence of work to be carried out, jealousy among the subordinate workers, and the presence of subordinate workers who are very much over-ambitious. More so, another factor may be pressures that come about as an effect of the tasks themselves that are being carried out. The last factor is confidentiality which implies that the manager may not delegate duties to particular people for the reason of intending to maintain privacy and confidentiality.
Managerial insecurity: In most cases, the biggest barrier to delegation by the manager is the insecurity of the psychological manager. If such a case comes about, the efforts to offer the manager the training to be in a position to offer delegation may turn out to be null and void. One of the major challenges in the training of management is that the managers have to bring together their personalities with the effective practices of management.
The Indispensable Employee
On some occasions, people may make a deliberate move to make sure that they are indispensable. This may be a technique by the manager in handling his or her personal feelings of insecurity. A crude direction to the manager’s competence is to find out the way things go when they are not involved at the time they are absent. The case is contrary to the manager who is not effective. This manager who is not effective may rejoice that things went wrong in their absence and go ahead to ensure the public is aware of this fact. The bringing about of the state of being indispensable can either be planned with a lot of care or can as well be brought about subconsciously (Rees and Porter, 2001: 117).
The Levels of Delegated freedom
According to Chapman (1995: Para 24), Delegation does not just concern telling people to do particular tasks. There exists a wide range of varying freedom that a manager can assign to a worker. Freedom will be given by the manager to a worker depending on the level of experience and how reliable the worker is. More critical tasks will call for more caution from the manager in extending the freedom. The manager should take caution in choosing the most relevant style for every situation. The levels of delegated freedom include:
The manager decides and announces the decision
The manager makes a review of alternatives considering the goals, priorities, and time allocation, among other things, and then makes a decision about the action to be taken and gives the information to the team about this decision.
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The manager makes a decision and then ‘sells’ the decision to the team
The manager decides and then makes an explanation of the reasons for his decision to the team especially the benefits that are favorable that will be derived by the team. In doing this, the manager is regarded by the team as one who makes recognition of the significance of the team and the one who is considerate of the team.
The manager makes a presentation of the decision with the underlying ideas and welcomes any queries
The manager welcomes the questions from the team and the team carries out a discussion together with the manager the justification underlying the decision that makes it possible for the team to understand to agree with the decision made in a more easy way than in the above levels.
The manager gives suggestions of a provisional decision and welcomes opinions about this decision
The manager makes and allows a review and discussion of the provisional decision with the team with the intention that the manager will carry out an analysis of the views discussed and in the end, come up with a decision. This gives room for the team to have an actual influence on the form of the decision the manager finally makes.
The manager makes a presentation of the situation, obtains opinions, and then makes a decision.
The team gets encouragement and obtains the expectation of giving out ideas and extra views and makes a discussion of the impacts of every action that can be taken. The manager in turn decides which action to adopt. Even if this level tends to provide a big responsibility to the team, the manager is in a position to take control to a particular degree of the risks involved and the results in accordance with the restrictions he specifies.
The manager gives some provision to the team to make identification of the problem, development of the alternatives, within the received restrictions of the manager.
This tends to be an extreme level of freedom in which the team is carrying out effectively what the manager carried out in the first level. The responsibility is issued out to the team to identify and analyze the problem at hand, the procedure for getting a solution to this problem, setting up and carrying out an assessment of alternatives, carrying out the evaluation of the impacts, and subsequently making a decision on the action to be taken and implementation (Anon: Delegation Skills, N.d, 6).
So far, the management skills of good time management and delegation have been looked at in detail. From the discussion, it has been established that these two skills of management are very much closely related, and even to a particular extend they move together. By manager carrying out the delegation of duties, he or she is trying to carry out time management. The main objective of delegating duties is to ensure effective use of time. The manager intends to see work done in the most effective way within the appropriate time limit. Therefore, for one to be a good manager and be relied upon for the success of the organization, he or she should dedicate his or her efforts to ensuring that the management skills of delegation and time management are acquired.
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Chapman, A., 1995. Delegating authority, skills, tasks, and the process of effective delegation. Business balls. Web.
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Rees David W. and Porter, C., 2001. The Skills of Management. 5th Edition. Cengage Learning EMEA. Web.