An important skill set in becoming an effective and valuable manager in your club is the ability to delegate and delegate well. When you delegate correctly, you empower and challenge the team member and ultimately improve the quality of services your club offers to members and guests.
Successful delegation not only allows you more time to focus on tasks that are important to you and your role, but it also helps grow and develop your team. When done properly, delegating fosters high levels of employee involvement, increases ownership and commitment, bolsters employee retention rates and promotes an environment of motivated contribution.
Many managers consider delegation a binary decision – either you delegate or you don’t. However, this is the easy first step! When the decision to delegate is made, the way it is then done and the degree of delegation is far more important.
The Five Levels of Delegation
The following five levels of delegation should be considered from the following aspects
Situational – the levels will be dependent on the task, the team member’s experience and knowledge, the resources available and the outcome required
Developmental – the levels are used in recognition of the learning and development stage of the team member. It is a progression, with each level placing more responsibility on the team member and less on you as their manager.
As a club manager, you make the decision, announce it to your team member(s) and provide complete direction.
“Based on my decision, here’s what I want you to do.”
From the situational perspective, this level is appropriate when there are safety issues, strict regulations and rules that must be adhered to or when things are extremely time-critical.
For team member development, the ‘tell’ level is usually used in the very early stages when the team member has had no experience or exposure to the task – “can you do this – I will explain it later”. It allows them to focus on the actual doing without being distracted by the ‘why’.
As the manager, you again make the decision and direct the task completion. However, you also provide an explanation of why the decision is made.
“Based on my decision, here’s what I want you to do, because…”
Situations, where this level is appropriate, are the same as with the ‘tell’ level with the added element of providing the team member with information to pass on to other parties. If a team member is asked why they are completing a task, they know the reason and don’t respond with “because I was told to ..”
In terms of team member development, it is the simplest form of engagement and involvement. It helps gain commitment from the team member to do the task (because they understand how it fits in and the positive aspects of the task) and it starts to stimulate thinking and understanding of their role and role purpose.
At this level, the club manager will ask for input before a decision is made or a task is delegated, whilst retaining authority to make the final decision. When this level is used, and the task is delegated to a team member, they not only know why the task is to be completed, they are connected to it.
“Before I make a decision, I want your input.”
At a Situational level, ‘consult’ is used when the manager recognises the benefit of additional inputs – ‘two or more heads are better than one’. They may need more information or data or simply a different set of eyes to look at things from.
Successful consultation is a strong form of team member development, empowerment, motivation, belonging and commitment. However, if it is not done well, it can cause dissatisfaction and resentment. The key to doing it well is to give the team member(s) advanced notice and time to provide their input and emphasise that the final decision will be made by you and may not reflect their inputs (although they are still appreciated).
Here, the club manager will coordinate a group decision and delegation making process. The manager’s voice is equal to all others, and a consensus is reached before proceeding.
“We need to make a decision together.”
The situations where this level is appropriate is for important, big impact projects that require careful consideration, multiple ideas and inputs and need a group approach to completion. They take time to work through, and the manager’s skillsets move from decision making to communication, managing meetings and project management.
At this level, team members see themselves as vital cogs of the club, whose knowledge and ideas are sought after and valued. It challenges them to think past their routines and day to day tasks and to be more strategic in their considerations.
When you ‘truly’ delegate, you turn the decision making and task completion entirely over to your team member(s). You have the confidence that the job will be done and that there is no need for you to be involved to any extent.
“You make a decision.”
There is a wide range of situations when complete delegation works. For simple tasks that are low impact and can be achieved in a number of ways with similar resource utilisation, it makes sense for the manager to allow these to be completed by others.
Where the manager has highly competent, knowledgeable and experienced team members around them, more complex tasks can also be delegated.
Whilst team member learning and development is well advanced for complete delegation to exist, it is still important for the manager to ‘check-in’ and get progress updates. Feedback loops and timelines still need to be communicated.
In considering and determining which level of delegation to use, the following principles can be considered in conjunction with the context of the situation and the team member development plans.
Whole Task Delegation
Where possible, give your team member a whole task to do. Doing components of a task make it difficult for the team member to see the big picture. Doing a task from beginning to end provides a sense of fulfilment and achievement. If it’s not possible to delegate a whole task, make sure the team member understands the part their ‘piece of the puzzle’ plays in the task or project. And what the overall purpose is.
The Even Bigger Picture
Remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Humans have a need for belonging and a sense of connection. Team members who recognise their work goals and expectations have context and connection to the vision and mission of the club, feel more important in the scheme of things. If every task they do is tied to the club’s vision of “providing enjoyment” then they will feel part of that goal.
Make sure the team member knows exactly what is required. This is imperative in the lower levels of delegation and needs to be supported through follow-up questions, observation, feedback and an open-door policy that encourages them to check back if they are unsure or get confused.
And don’t forget to link the requirements of the task to the purpose of the project or overall club outcomes.
Determine when you want feedback and when you should check in with your team member on progress. Regardless of the level of delegation, it is not a ‘set and forget’ exercise because you are ultimately accountable. Knowing that you will be checking in, demonstrates you are not micro-managing but need assurance that the task is on track.
It also provides the opportunity to assist your team members where required or when you recognise the task has wandered off-track.
Identify the outcomes that demonstrate the task was completed successfully. This may be the final progression check and knowing the desired outcomes removes any subjectivity from the question of whether the task was done well or not.
When you first delegate a task, you should consider how you will thank and reward the team member when they successfully complete the task. This can range from a simple ‘slap on the back’ to a fiscal bonus. Recognition reinforces the sense of participation, involvement, contribution, accomplishment and positive self-belief.
The Club Managers Association of Australia (CMAA) has been supporting and developing club managers to achieve high levels of leadership and management ability for many years. The training and development of knowledgeable and motivated leaders that are capable of achieving greatness on behalf of their clubs is a passion of the CMAA. To this end, they offer the professional certification - the Active Certified Club Managers Award (ACCM).
Individuals who hold the ACCM, have demonstrated that they possess the skills, have the range of knowledge and can model behaviours that drive premium results for their club.
The foundation stone of the ACCM is the Club Managers Leadership and Management program, an online, training course, delivered by elevateB (a specialist training company) and independently endorsed by Australis College (a Registered Training Organisation)
The Club Managers Leadership and Management program has been modelled on the Diploma of Leadership and Management, ensuring it covers a full gambit of management and leadership topics. Importantly, it has been tailored and contextualised for club environments and day to day club management situations. To successfully complete the program, participants are required to demonstrate required knowledge, skills and abilities through application and activity submissions.
For more information on the Club Managers Leadership and Management program, click here.