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How to delegate as a leader...

"Don't be a bottleneck. If a matter is not a decision for the President or you, delegate it."  -Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense

How can we safely delegate decisions? Surely there is a massive risk if we ‘let go’ close our eyes and just see what happens? Isn’t it safe to stick to task delegation?

 It is easy to delegate tasks. All you need is an instruction sheet. The more complex the task, the longer the sheet.

 It is much tougher to delegate decisions.

 A great manager gets their people making decisions. Not only that but making great decisions. When we can do that, we have made the holy grail of management. We can duplicate our own skills in others leaving us free to move onto greater things. The main reason for lack of promotion is commonly described as “can’t do without”. It’s no good being needed, if we are needed, we can’t move on. Delegating tasks keeps us needed. Delegating decisions gives us freedom.

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Getting the best from millennials

Successful organisations win and retain key talent. Age is not a barrier to success; however, it may be a barrier to gaining and retaining the key talent from the next generation of movers and shakers.

Many organisations have already developed their culture and employment practices to gain and retain the best on offer. For example, many working parents now gain value from employer led initiatives in ways which go far beyond the statutory minimum requirements of the law. The benefits of this accrue to both employer and employee. In the same way, organisations should look at their culture and employment practices to ensure they gain & retain millennials. Organisations need people who are ambitious, educated and technologically “savvy”. So what are some of the challenges we face in getting the best from millennials?

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Fun at work matters!

Psychology Today records laughter as the most contagious of human emotions . If you really want to influence others, bring laughter, that will do the trick.

I have a personal dream that a manager’s objectives appraised in the PDR include how much laughter he or she was able to generate. I can think of a few managers I have worked for (and no doubt you have worked for too) who would quickly be out of a job.

We have a major challenge with humour at work in that a lot of workplace humour is based on what we might call ‘banter’. This is the language of the race, the traditional jokes and teases that go with the territory of the job. The problem we have is that the territory has rapidly changed, and traditional banter can be seen as divisive whereas before it was seen as the glue that held the team together. Banter traditionally gave a sense of identity, of ‘us and them’. In today’s open and more tolerant society, that approach doesn’t work. Banter needs to be inclusive without being offensive.

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Professional networking tips

“If you were on a cruise ship that was about to sink, who in the crew would you like to have a great relationship with?”

This quote came to my attention recently. I have no idea of its origins. But it makes a very powerful point about the purpose of some of our relationships in the workplace. Often, we know a lot of people and shake a lot of hands. But do we know the right people when we need to?

When we look back at our careers, it is likely that the breaks we have had are down to the contacts we had. At some point someone acted on our behalf and pointed us towards a brighter future. They informed us of a possibility and opened a door for us. And why? It is likely that they felt they owed you something because at some point in the past you had been good for them.

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Effective meeting strategies

Plato had a point when he said “Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something”. He must have been to some of the meetings I have attended!

I once conducted some research which showed that managers spent on average 2 days a week in meetings. That in itself is alarming, but the more alarming point is that most managers felt that the majority of these meetings significantly wasted their time.

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