For most safety pros, the key to success is producing results – tangible evidence that employee safety and health is being improved to the benefit of the company.
How can a safety department, especially a small or one-person staff, produce results when there are so many regulations to comply with, and day-to-day routine tasks to handle? The answer is summed up in just on word: delegation.
Delegation is getting things done through other people. You use this technique when you assign problem-solving and decision-making authority to an assistant, subordinate, other employees or a group.
Delegating is allowing others to help you succeed. Really, everyone wins. The safety manger is free to manage, and employees handling delegated assignments develop new skills.
Much more can be accomplished with assistance from others. Consider these factors:
- With all the regulations to contend with and the dozens of safety-related and miscellaneous projects that keep coming out of the woodwork, it’s impossible to give every item on your agenda your best effort. To think you can is naïve, and to attempt to do so invites worry, ineffectiveness and burnout.
- Stress is reduced when you shift and share responsibilities. Everyone could use less stress.
- A person who can delegate effectively is an extremely valuable asset to an organization. It is a sign of leadership and self-confidence. Delegation is the mark of a successful manager, and mastery of this skill will help you ascend to new levels of responsibility within your organization.
- Delegation is one of the most efficient and productive tools available to teach subordinates. They learn your responsibilities by performing them. As you delegate more and more tasks, the self-esteem and confidence of your people will increase. This is how you groom future managers.
In light of these advantages, why do so few managers delegate? Some of the more common objections (and answers to them) are:
- My people might botch it up. So how else are they going to learn? Every good leader expects people to make mistakes. With planning and foresight, you can ensure that any mistakes made will not bring and end to the world.
- It takes too much time to explain everything. I can do it just as fast myself. Sure, but can you do everything yourself?
- People will think I’m lazy. Wrong! People will consider you a ‘smart’ manager of people, time and resources.
- If I delegate a project, I won’t have the answers to questions from my superior. Touch base periodically with subordinates to be brought up to date on progress.
- Delegation is a sign of weakness. Delegation is a sign of trust and self-confidence. You will be viewed as a leader.
- It won’t be done exactly the way I want. So? What difference does it make as long as the project is finished and meets the established standards? Plus, if the people who ultimately have to live with the final result are involved in the completion of the project, you can bet they will do it the best way.