Why delegate?

Will Lukang, PMP, CSM, CLDC

Coworkers discussing a file

Delegation by definition is the act or process of delegating or being delegated.  It is transferring of responsibility between the manager and his/her subordinate.   This does not mean that the manager is completely freed of the responsibility or no longer accountable, but rather the subordinate is empowered to carry out the task on the manager’s behalf.

Early on in my career, I thrived on being a single performer.   The reason I like to work as a single performer is because by and large you control your own destiny.   As a programmer, as long as you understand the programming language and its limitations, follow the design methodology, understand the business requirements, work closely with your business and manage your time, you can control the outcome.   In many respects, you get what you put in.   It is an old saying my father told me many times:  You’ll only achieve something if you put in the effort needed to accomplish the goal.   It sounds simple, but indeed, it is simple.    The results speak for themselves as I moved up the ranks and gained confidence along the way.

 

It is quicker for me to do it myself

While is it true that it is quicker if you do the work yourself, depending on your role in your organization, it might help you achieve your goal in the short term, but in the long term you’re not helping your organization achieve its goal.

The need to get it done quickly and getting it out of the way can also give you a false sense of accomplishment.   The mere fact that the task was completed gives you the feeling that you can check it off your list.

 

So, why delegate?

  • Free up your time – this is ultimately the best reason why you need to delegate.  Delegating frees up your time to work on things that have the highest value to the organization. It also means that you can work on strategic thinking to help expand your company’s capabilities.
  • Growing talent – this is essential to every organization.  The overall capabilities of the organization will increase in equal proportion to the more people we develop.   By delegating our responsibilities, people will learn new skills that will help them become valuable resources of the company.
  • Increase morale – delegation is only effective if we empower the people to carry out the task.  Empowering people can improve their morale.    The improvement in morale equates to better engagement and improvement in retention.
  • Sharing your expertise – showing people how to do things and explaining the purpose or what it means to the organization helps people understand how their work fits in the overall scheme of things.  By showing people how do things, they will respect and appreciate your gesture.
  • You still own the responsibility – while you’re helping someone accomplish the task, you still own the responsibility and are accountable for the delivery of the task.  Delegation does not preclude you from owning the task.   You’ll learn a new skill by working through others.  It will help you learn how to trust and have confidence in others.
  • Do not dump – some people fall into the trap that they can delegate anything they don’t like to work on.   At times they delegate without providing support or guidance or forget to empower the people to need to get the job done.   Without proper guidance and support, the people you’re working with will not learn how to effectively get their jobs done.

 

Delegation in itself is a great thing.  It all starts with an acknowledgement that you need to spend your time on other tasks that matter to you the most.   It shifts the focus from completing tasks to achieving what is important to you and the organization.   It means looking through different lenses in which we focus on quality and not quantity.   Similarly, all people who want to cook aren’t Chefs.  In order to be a Chef, you need to have the advance skills only bestowed to that level or caliber.  However, it does not mean that you cannot aspire to be a Chef.   Just like any job, we learn from someone we admire and respect.   That same analogy applies to being a Chef.   They all started learning from someone they admire and respect.  Overtime they learn new skills and become a Chef.

From an overall scheme of things, sharing your knowledge and expertise is a way to improve a community.  When we share our knowledge, we empower people to grow and develop.  It is through sharing that we can make this world a better place.   Feel free to share your thoughts.

Differentiate Yourself

Will Lukang, PMP, CSM, CLDC

Apple volunteer

With the competitive landscape and the existing economic conditions, companies need to find ways to stay competitive and gain or maintain market share.   Companies’ profitability can be attributed to the following: efficiency, quality, productivity and innovation.    It is increasingly important to differentiate yourself from your competitors.   Some companies differentiate themselves in the following ways, by providing the best customer service, being first to market with innovative solutions, focusing on simplification or being known for best quality.

In the same light, companies look to their people to help come up with ideas that can help the company gain competitive advantage.    Most companies still acknowledge that people are their most important resources.   I’m of the opinion that a company can have the best technology and machinery, but without the right people in the right place to program and operate them, the company cannot be successful.  Ultimately people are what make or break a company.

Just like a basket of apples, how can one apple standout from the rest?  Could it be by being the largest, shiniest or the color is vibrant?   It does not matter if you’re an entrepreneur or employee; you need to demonstrate certain attributes that make you stand out from the rest.    From my experience, here are some of the ways to standout:

  • Commit to renewing and recharging your energy – this is the most important point that I want to highlight.  In order for you to be able to differentiate yourself, you need to feel good about yourself. Renewing yourself means spending time to relax and recharge.  This could be done by meditating or spending time on things that you love, such as family and hobbies, that keep you at ease.   Make sure to remember that each day you need to spend time that contributes to your wellbeing and take the opportunity to reflect on the things you’re working on and how it contributes to your goal.
  • Be a subject matter expert (SME)  –  Be an expert on a topic, business process, operation areas, programming languages, user design (UX), etc.   By becoming an expert, you’ll be the go-to person for people to seek help and get things done.
  • Volunteer your time in cross-functional projects – this is the best way to get your name out there.   By participating in these types of initiatives, you can expand your reach, but make sure to follow through your commitment and get the job done.
  • Take on project that no one wants  – I make a career out of being the guy that takes on projects that other people deem unimportant.   Yet by doing those projects, management sees the value of being a team player and taking one for the team.  This ultimately helps me get myself in the mix of people they deem to be important to the organization.
  • Helping others – our organization is like an eco system.  For it to work effectively sometimes we seek help and other times we give back to the community.    Help others and be known for your knowledge and abilities.
  • Focus on continuous development – sharpen your saw and look for new things to learn and develop. By committing to continuous improvement, you can develop new skills and increase your capability, thereby differentiating yourself.
  • Represent something – take an interest in programs that you’re passionate about or start something new.   In my situation, my passion is developing talents. To this end, I commit to spend time to mentor, coach and develop people around me.    I make it a point to provide effective feedback.  By effective feedback I mean providing constructive feedback immediately after the situation arises and providing guidance for the way forward.  This is also the reason why I’m active as co-captain of Stevens recruiting.  I’m responsible for conducting the information session, recruiting at career fairs and interviewing candidates for UBS.
  • Network – it is important for you to network with people other than doing the work with one another.  Spend time getting to know the people, who they are and if they value and understand their goals.
  • Selling yourself – In spite of all the work that you do, sometimes people don’t know your contribution, not because they don’t care, but because they are also busy with their own business.  So, it is important to you to sell yourself to let others know what you do and the value or benefits of the work you and your team are doing and how it contributes to the organization.

Just like the basket of apples, you need to make people see you among all the apples.  Make them notice you and ultimately select you to work with them.   Make them want to be on your team and inspire them to achieve greater goals.    Sometimes it seems like getting the work done is the means to an end, but really the journey is a big part of it.  You need to figure out how to focus your attention and also recharge yourself.     If you like this post, I ask you to do one of two things: share with me your ways of differentiating yourself or share this post with a friend.