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Published on: HR Coaching & Mentoring

Time Management, Delegation and The Situational Model of Leadership

Time management has always been a huge issue for leaders. While delegating tasks may sound like a simple solution, delegating effectively can take time too, and requires a lot of trust, coordination and communication that many leaders can lack, HR included. 

As a leader, delegating is crucial as you can’t – and shouldn’t – take on everything yourself. The more senior you get, the more breadth you need to apply, and this is at the expense of depth of detail. Not only does delegation relieve your own workload, but it also builds trust, empowers your team, allows them to develop new skills and, more importantly, aids with their personal development.

Delegation isn’t solely about distributing work to your team, but rather delegating the responsibility to produce the desired outcome, whatever those results may be. In order to optimise your own time management, it’s vital that delegation involves effective planning in order to enable valuable learning and growth opportunities.

In this article, we answer the all-important question; ‘Why is time management important for HR?’ and explore the importance of delegation and some common challenges often faced by leaders, followed by two of my favourite models of effective delegation.

Why Is Time Management Important in the Workplace?

Time management enables you to control your workday so you can continue to build your business, without compromising your work-life balance. 

Improved Performance

Time management can help you focus on just the essential tasks to give you a better idea of everything you need to accomplish and how long each task should take. Once you prioritise your tasks you’ll have more clarity about what you need to focus on and a plan to do that, and as a result you’ll likely find that you spend less time procrastinating and more time focusing on your most important work. 

Time management also helps you to ensure you have enough time available to complete every project. The quality of your work increases when you aren’t rushing to complete it ahead of a fast-approaching deadline.

Many people use time management techniques to allow themselves several days to complete a project or complete ahead of the due date to provide a buffer for any challenges that might arise. If you properly schedule the time needed to complete your work, you’ll be able to hit your deadlines every time.

Health & Wellbeing

We all know the importance of wellbeing and mental health in the workplace. Having your time effectively managed can reduce stress and anxiety that is commonly felt with a full list of tasks to accomplish both for work and in your personal life. Prioritising tasks and giving yourself enough time to accomplish them can help in reducing stress levels.

Stress can have a significant impact on our physical and mental health. By reducing stress, we are also improving our health and our overall moods.

Quality of Life

Good time management can strengthen our sense of control and work/life balance. Knowing what you need to do and how you will do it is a key component in how you feel about your work.

Consistently finishing the key tasks you want to complete each day is a huge motivator that can drive people to further improve their time management skills and take on new work opportunities.

Career Progression

Efficient time management can create more valuable workers and improve career progression reputation for team members looking to expand their careers. Better time management allows us to spend more time developing the skills we need to advance or grow in our roles to be the best possible version of ourselves.

The Importance of Delegation in Time Management

Time management is key to increasing efficiency by taking control of tasks and ensuring all work gets completed in good time. Instead of taking on more work yourself, figure out what you can delegate to other team members and concentrate on the more complex tasks that only you can do as a priority.

Delegation is a key component of time management and lightening your workload, and is an important productivity tool and time management technique. Not only does delegation empower your team and build trust, but it also gives employees a higher level of commitment to their work and supports their personal and professional development.

Employees who feel that they are trusted and respected enough to be given a higher level of commitment will essentially become more empowered to perform better in their position.

Delegation saves time for management and allows more work to be completed faster. Managers must delegate tasks to employees in order to focus on higher-level work. However, as leaders, we need to delegate in the right way and identify who is best suited to tackle projects or risk experiencing some common issues.

Common Challenges with Time Management

When working with leaders to strengthen their time management, some common barriers they experience include:

  • Too many distractions
  • Procrastination (choosing to do other things instead)
  • Poor focus/concentration
  • Fear of doing the wrong thing
  • Lack of planning
  • Too many meetings
  • Lack of time
  • Lack of energy
  • Too much to do
  • Unclear priorities

Thinking about your own time management skills, what gets in the way for you? Try to consider which challenges are external, and therefore out of your control, or internal, challenges that are within your control. Even with the challenges that are ‘out of your control’, try to look at these differently and regain some of that control.

For example, if you have too many distractions, what can YOU do to turn these off? If you have too many meetings, have you looked at whether you need to attend all? If you lack focus, what have you tried to address regaining this focus? 

Start with an honest self-assessment of what gets in the way for you. While there will be similar themes, we are all different. Get clear on where you need to pay attention, to get better at this.

Common Challenges with Delegation

Some common challenges we encounter when delegating include the belief that employees will do a poor job or take too long, guilt in delegating and therefore overloading employees, or the lack of awareness of an employee’s capabilities and skillset. All of these require careful consideration and planning if we are to succeed in leading our team effectively.

However, the foremost challenge of delegation is the fear of letting go, with the belief that delegating leads to losing our control. The heart of that fear is trust, which many leaders lack in their team.

As leaders, we rarely take time to examine the level of trust in the relationships with our team and give enough thought to creating trusting relationships with clients and colleagues. The HR manager does not have to handle it all — and should not.

Many leaders experience stress when feeling out of control, with the concept of control getting in the way of delegating effectively. Leaders often struggle to get the right balance between doing things themselves and delegating to others. 

At the heart of delegation, is fear. Instead, try to think about how far out of your comfort zone you are when you delegate a task.

Some useful questions to challenge your fear of letting go include:

  • If you had more confidence in other people, would your decision be the same?
  • If you had more confidence in yourself, would your decision be the same?
  • What would it take to change your level of confidence in others?
  • What would it take to change your level of confidence in yourself?

The Situational Model of Leadership

A model I frequently refer to when looking at delegation is the situational model of leadership.

This situational model of leadership focuses on how leaders are should adapt their communication style according to the needs of their employees and the demands of the situation. This model covers:

  • Telling – Tell people what to do and how they can do it
  • Selling – Sell your ideas and message to get group members to buy into the process
  • Participating – Offer less direction and allow members of the group to take a more active role in coming up with ideas and making decisions
  • Delegating – A less involved, hands-off approach to leadership. Group members make more of the decisions and take more responsibility for what happens

Adapting Your Style

The situational leadership model suggests that the most appropriate approach to delegation will depend on the circumstances, meaning that you will need to adapt your style depending on the person you are delegating to and the set of circumstances (or situation) you are in.

Consider how supportive and directive you need to be and how able and willing the person is to do the task, by identifying their level of:

  • Competence – The team member’s ability (skills and experience) to do the task
  • Commitment – The team member’s motivation to do the task (could be related to their belief in the importance/relevance of the task)
  • Confidence – The team member’s belief in their ability to do the task


“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships”

Stephen Covey

The 5 Steps to Trusted Delegation

While delegation can be complex and challenging, you might find these five key steps a helpful start to refine your delegation techniques:

1. Engage on Outcome

‘Engage’ goes beyond telling. While there may be a power dynamic in place if you are a leader, you should aim to focus on inspiring the person you want to do the task, instead. It might be helpful for their own development, therefore take a moment to think about how you might engage them in the task.  

Secondly, think about what success looks like in relation to the end goal and your ideal outcome.

2. Purpose

Understanding why delegation is important to you is critical, so consider the impact and the bigger picture in order to help with effective decision making.

When you delegate a task, you are delegating the whole task, and decisions will need to be made by the individual along the way – just as you would if you were completing the task yourself.  

3. Accountability & Resources

Take accountability for empowering your team to make decisions and even make mistakes.

This interlinks with ensuring they have the right resources to get the work done. If a team member must learn a new tool as part of their assignment, delegate time for them to ramp up their skills so they are not put in a position to miss deadlines.

4. Listen

Listening is your number one leadership superpower.  If you don’t take time to listen to the other person, you will only be engaging in a one-way process – you need to hear back from them – check for understanding, listen to ideas, concerns and any queries they may have.

Co-creating the solution will help them feel engaged and bought into doing the task, so try to tune into how they feel about the task. Most importantly, do they have the support they need?

5. Commit

Don’t assume that your team has all the information and should just ‘get on with it’. Make sure that you have spent enough time at the earlier stages to commit to providing guidance and directing your team toward completing the task. As commitment is two-way, it’s vital to make your team aware that they can come back to you if challenges are encountered.

See my other blog post –  how great leaders can delegate work effectively  for more ideas on ways you can refine your delegation techniques:

Provide Coaching and Guidance

If there are issues with delegating, provide coaching and guidance to employees and make yourself available for questions and advice. You can then continue to follow up with them to discuss any problems they may have encountered or any updates on their progress.

Is delegating something you know you need to do in your role, but you aren’t quite sure how to make it work? It is a skill to be able to delegate well, and often a skill that you have to learn. If you are not sure where to start, I can help you hone in on your delegation and time management skills, so that you can start using your time effectively and utilise the skills of your team to increase office productivity.

Please reach out and contact me for more delegation and time management tips, HR coaching or guidance, and I’d love to support.