Delegating work boosts productivity
Effective delegating helps make teamwork easy and boost confidence of team members, according to Newman Lam Kin-man, corporate management accounting manager of The Hong Kong and China Gas Company (Towngas).
Mr Lam heads a department of six and said teamwork was important. 'The accounting department is constantly required to provide a lot of information in a timely manner. I apply adequate delegating techniques to help maximise my team's overall productivity,' he said.
Team-member confidence is also bolstered by effective delegating by the manager. 'When team members are able to accomplish their tasks properly they get a sense of achievement and become more confident,' he said.
It is crucial for a middle manager to have a thorough understanding of the tasks assigned to maximise the effectiveness of delegating because he needs to clearly communicate and highlight the most important points for team members. 'The middle manager needs to ensure that team members fully understand the schedules, timelines and the deliverables of the assignments,' Mr Lam said.
The manager should also keep abreast of the workload of staff to ensure that they were not overloaded with extra assignments, Mr Lam said. If this was not done properly, quality might be compromised.
'Delegating is all about communication. When I delegate, I try to give team members the big picture by showing them how their assignments fit into the overall project. It helps to build the team,' Mr Lam said. This enhanced understanding of the tasks helps team members to be more efficient and effective when they need to make judgments.
'I also ensure that they know we are all in the same boat. They can always come to me for guidance and advice whenever a problem arises. This is the difference between delegating and simply passing jobs to subordinates.' Mr Lam's readiness to provide support to his team is part of his style of working. 'I focus on teamwork and I am very involved in the day-to-day operation of my department,' he said.
Mr Lam reviews completed assignments with team members. 'I give compliments for jobs well done,' he said. 'And highlight areas that need improvement. This is a mutually beneficial process. It helps in the personal development of my team members and I learn from their feedback.'
Mr Lam began his career at the public utility company as a graduate trainee in 1989. He spent the following few years with the audit and systems (internal audit) division. From 1993 to last year he worked at the accountancy department.
Mr Lam took up the managerial position at Towngas corporate management accounting department last January and his areas of responsibility include budgetary control and financial forecasting.
Mr Lam said effective delegating was all about experience. 'It is important to maintain a positive team spirit and foster harmonious working relationships.'
Five keys to effective delegating
Match tasks with skills and abilities of team members
Communicate clearly the timeline and expected results
Ensure team members have a full understanding of tasks assigned to them
Review the progress of tasks undertaken by team members
Be ready to provide guidance and help after passing assignments to team members