Delegation: A Pharmaceutical Leaders Biggest Challenge

Delegation: A Pharmaceutical Leaders Biggest Challenge

by Chris Atkinson in career
It is a recognised fact that pharmaceutical and life science employees are some of the hardest working on the planet; it seems to go with the territory doesn’t it. 

However, we are all human beings, and neither you or your team will deliver the results you want if you work yourself into the ground, as you ‘try’ to do it all. 

Making the transition from an expert contributor to a recognised and productive leader is not easy. 
One of the classic challenges you will face is the ability to delegate. All too often this leadership skill proves a stumbling block for many life sciences leaders and managers who have previously excelled in their field as individuals. Now they find themselves struggling to hand responsibility over to members of their team. 

To lead your team to deliver the results your organisation wants, you must be able to delegate by allocating tasks to people in your team who have the skills, time, capability and resources to fulfill them. 

Delegation is not a sign of weakness instead it marks you out as a strong leader. It demonstrates your capability and leadership skills to both your team and senior leaders in your organisation. 

By delegating well, you will soon find that you increase your productivity and performance. At the same time, you are creating developmental opportunities for team members. As a result, you are demonstrating that you trust your team and are willing to empower them to take action. This leads to your team being more engaged. You will also command more respect as a manager.  
Even better, it will free you up to fully concentrate on your own potentially higher-value tasks as well as look for your own development opportunities.  

The question is; do you genuinely believe you can handle the work of every member of your team? I know it is a ‘silly’ question, however, review you own current behaviours because your current actions might be communicating yes. 

How then do you prepare to delegate? It starts with a few questions. 

Why Are You Resistant? 

Common reasons are: 
  • Are you assuming you can ‘do’ it better and faster? 
  • Perhaps concerned someone in the team can do it ‘better’ than you? 
  • You don’t trust the capability of your team? 
  • I do not have time to train them 
If these resistant triggers are coming up for you, it is time to act. Mastering the fear that others could be better than you, prioritising your own time over other people’s tasks, or training others sufficiently so that you can trust they will perform well, are all critical steps to take in the process. 

These actions are not easy or quick; however, in the long term, they are well worth it. Accept that it will take time however it will benefit everyone in the long term.  

1. Delegate to The Right Team Members and Then Support Them 100% 

Important: Now you have your new-found energy to delegate, remember, delegation is not about abdication. You are ultimately responsible for what happens. 

A common mistake when it comes to delegation is ‘over-trusting’ that all will go well and consequently moving away from the individual or team to demonstrate your trust; bad idea! 

This is potentially a disaster waiting to happen. Why? It could be because the wrong person was chosen for the task, or they were not sufficiently trained or supported. Choose well, prepare them well, and importantly monitor, manage and most of all be available. 

2. Avoid Micromanagement 

For the whole delegation experience to work for both you, your team member and the organisation there are a few essential things to consider. 

Set goals, deadlines and responsibilities clearly, as well as create a reporting schedule so that you do not regularly get ‘twitchy’ that things are slipping or worse still mistakes are being made. 

You may choose to have verbal or written reports on a daily, weekly or bi-monthly basis- but do remember not to make the reporting schedule so onerous that it gets in the way of productivity. 

3. Let Your Team Know What Is Happening 

It is highly likely your team knows, all too well, that you are a workaholic with a tendency to want to control everything! 
Your ideas about delegating are likely to be welcomed, even though they might be sceptical that this is going to be the new you from now on. 

This conversation is an opportunity to find out what skills the individual team members feel they need to be able to perform and take responsibility for specific tasks or projects. You can utilise this information to develop their training plans  
Learning delegation is the most significant productivity hack of them all, so you are putting yourself at a marked disadvantage if you do not learn to do it well. A life sciences manager has typically a team of bright and highly-skilled people working for them. 

Therefore, it is your responsibility to support each of them to reach their potential; which will facilitate their personal development too. 

Best regards 

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