Bill Marvin
The Restaurant Doctor™

Some of the most powerful management concepts are also the most simple. Here is a "blinding flash of the obvious" for your consideration:

As managers, I believe our job is not to run the joint, it is to teach our staff how to run the joint! You will never be able to move on to new projects (or get away to spend more time with your family) unless your crew can assume responsibilities that presently fall to you . . . and the only way they will be able to do these new jobs is if someone teaches them.

Think about it. If you are doing something that someone on your staff is capable of doing - and you are not giving it to them to do - that is disrespectful. Disrespect will quickly destroy the working relationships in any organization. Not passing tasks along may also deliver the message that you don't think the other person is capable of doing it. Reluctance to let loose of tasks, especially routine tasks, could be seen as your way of keeping the power in your own hands. In any case the organization suffers because qualified people will leave for jobs where they can advance their skills. At the same time you perpetuate the overload that leads to management stress, exhaustion and burnout.

Take a look at your day and see where you are spending your time. Do you spend hours doing the schedule? There is no law that says you have to do it, only that a schedule needs to be done. If you have it down cold, or if it is driving you crazy, teach someone else on your staff to do it! After all, at some point in your career someone had to trust you with the job for the first time. It will be a relief to you and a job upgrade for them. The same thinking applies to other typical manager jobs like taking the inventory or doing the ordering. There is no reason why someone on your staff, with a little coaching, cannot handle these duties as well as you can and it is not hard for you to keep score on how they are doing.

As a start, identify three activities that presently occupy your time - jobs that others on your staff are already capable of doing. Verify that these folks are willing to take on the new responsibilities and then give the jobs to them. Check in with them for awhile to make sure they understand what they are doing. Don't insist that they do everything exactly the way you would. All you are really looking for is consistency of results. If they can get the same or better results without breaking any laws, why waste energy insisting on the manner in which that happens?

When you are comfortable that the new tasks are being well-handled, identify three of your common tasks that other folks in your organization are capable of learning. With your new-found free time, start teaching them!

The results of this process are simply wonderful! You will be taking jobs that are wearing you down and giving them to people who will get excited about them! You continually reinvent your own job which tends to keep you fresh and excited. Your staff will become more confident, more skilled and more involved in the success of your operation.

A few words of caution before you start:

There is a difference between delegation and abdication. Never turn anyone loose unless they have been thoroughly coached or they may panic and fail. As a world-class manager, you want to make sure they are successful in their new work. Failure will not help anyone. You may want to do a job until you have mastered it before you turn it over to someone else. In some cases, where you know that you just do not have the temperament for a particular task, delegating it to someone who does may work out better for everyone. It is OK if your staff knows more than you do.

Don't delegate to people who don't want the responsibility. Not everyone wants to advance and it is futile to force activity on someone who does not want it. If you have a history of successful transitions and people are comfortable that they won't be set up to fail, they will be more eager to take on something new - particularly if you reward their achievement.

Reflect the new job responsibilities on the paycheck. You have to deal with the question of "what's in it for me?" It is only fair to reflect someone's increased contributions to your profitability on their check. If you don't give for what you get you will not find many volunteers for new duties. Don't view delegation as increasing costs. Rather, see it as a way to break you loose to identify more ways of increasing revenue. Even if delegation does nothing other than give you time to have a life (!), any additional costs will be more than offset by your own increase in productivity.

Expect mistakes A "mistake" only shows you the extent of a person's understanding. We all slip a few times when taking on new challenges. Since no one likes to fail, making a big deal of an error will only destroy the desire to learn and add another "rule" to the book. Approach your job as a coach would ("This is good, that is good, let's work on this part now.") and you will do fine. Bear in mind that you, too, are also learning - in this case, learning how to delegate successfully - and you should expect a mistake or two yourself as you learn how to do it effectively.

for more information contact:
Bill Marvin, The Restaurant Doctor™
(585) 606-0000

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