Take this quiz to find out if you are skilled at effective delegation:
Q1: Your boss asks you to take on a high-profile project that will last about six weeks. The project will likely double your workload during that time period. What do you do?
A) Ask your boss if someone else can temporarily pick up some of the slack by taking on some of your day-to-day duties during the six weeks.
B) Resign yourself to working overtime for those six weeks. After all, it’s only a short period of time.
C) Identify a colleague whose career would benefit from taking on some of your tasks. Ask your boss if you can train that person to step in for you during those six-weeks.
Q2: Your boss suggests that you consider handing over some of your workload to a new employee. What do you do?
A) Make a list of the things you most hate doing and leave instructions for doing them on the new employee’s desk.
B) Start working harder since the boss must think you can’t handle your current responsibilities.
C) Talk to the new employee about his or her strengths and interests and come up with tasks that match them.
Q3: You show a colleague how to complete a monthly report that you have always done. He does a poor job the first three times he does it causing you to spend twice as much time helping him fix it as you would have spent doing it yourself. What do you do?
A) Nothing–he’ll eventually figure it out.
B) Resume doing the report yourself; you can get it done much faster.
C) Start looking for someone else who is better qualified to get the task done.
Q4: You’re the top salesperson in your department yet you’re running behind on your monthly sales calls because you’re finishing a special project. A fellow saleswoman asks if she can help you by finishing your calls. What do you do?
A) Gladly say yes since there is no way you can get all this work done.
B) Decline the offer. You’ll do as much as you can, knowing your boss is aware of your heavier workload.
C) Tell your colleague that you have to complete your sales calls but ask if she will give you a hand with some of the administrative tasks related to the special project.
Q5: You’ve delegated some tasks to an employee you manage and are surprised to find that he works faster and more efficiently than you did. When he asks for more responsibilities, what do you do?
A) Give him more of your low-priority tasks so there’s less for you to do.
B) Ask others in the office if they have work the employee can do; you don’t want to take the chance that he’ll outshine you.
C) Let him try working on some of your higher-priority projects. If he’s a star employee, it will reflect well on you and the company as a whole.
If you chose mostly As, you don’t have a problem delegating, but you may not be doing it as effectively as you could. Delegation is not just about lightening your workload, it’s about building up the strengths of other employees. Make sure you retain the tasks that are most crucial to your role in the company, and make sure those you delegate to are interested in and capable of handling the assignments you give them.
If you chose mostly Bs, you don’t delegate as much as you should. You hold on to tasks because you’re afraid to let others outshine you or you believe that the harder you work, the more value you bring. Try working smarter rather than harder, recognizing that your role is to figure out how to get the job done in the most efficient way possible, even if it requires more than one set of hands.
If you chose mostly Cs, you are comfortable delegating tasks so you can focus on the most important aspects of your job. You are also interested in finding the best person to handle the task so that it gets done efficiently, and so the person doing the job grows personally and professionally. You understand that effective delegation is a sign of smart leadership.