Are you delegating enough of your work?

Are you a manager who feels swamped by all of the work you need to get done? Are you looking for ways to become more productive? You may need to start delegating more of your work.

A recent study from the Harvard Business Review aimed to quantify the returns of delegation by reviewing legal partners that delegated work to associates. The study concluded that a median partner earns 20 percent more than they would otherwise by delegating work to associates, while top lawyers earn at least 50 percent more. Partners also benefitted by being available to serve more clients.

The legal profession is a bit different from the marine industry, but I think there is still plenty to learn from the research. If top technicians in the service department are able to delegate more busy work to tech assistants, it frees up their availability to service more boats and increase department efficiency. If an engineer can delegate busy work, he or she has time to design the next great product for our industry.

The study highlighted that in order to delegate more, you staff generally needs to be larger and more skilled. That’s not always possible in every marine business, but the more you train your staff to handle new and challenging tasks, the better you will be able to delegate work in the future. And hopefully, it will set up existing staff gain new skills that will help them advance in their own careers.

I felt the study did lack one important piece of advice: It is also important to be clear and communicate with your staff that even though you are giving them more work, the goal is to help make the business more productive and to give them new opportunities to grow themselves. Otherwise, it just looks like you keep dumping work on them, and that’s a great way to lose good people.

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