Can’t delegate? Won’t delegate?

Delegation is a key management skill. When done effectively, it can save you valuable time, improve team performance, reduce your workload and lower stress levels, enhance skills of individuals and teams and really develop your people. These benefits are well known. But studies indicate that delegation is not as widely used as you may think and, indeed, when it is used, it is not always that effective.

There are a number of reasons for this and research indicates the following:

* Some Managers do not understand the benefits of delegation. They have never been adequately trained so do not always understand that a Manager’s role is usually to achieve results through others. They do not appreciate tasks which can or cannot be delegated, to whom tasks may be delegated, the skills involved in delegation, the styles and levels of delegation and so on. You get the picture. What they have heard though is that giving work to others is something they should do and so they engage in what is commonly known as “dumping” – in other words simply getting work off their own desk with no instruction and little or no support given to the poor recipient. This Manager needs a little help, I feel.

* Some Managers may feel they understand it pretty well but make the decision not to do it. They make excuses such as I can do it better myself, it takes too long to explain, my staff don’t possess the skills etc. But what they are really worried about is their feeling that delegation reduces their authority. What if they can do it better than me? How will that make me look ? Of course, there are tasks which cannot or should not be delegated but I would say that whilst the Manager might feel he understands delegation, he fails to understand that by effective delegation, the benefits listed above can be achieved and his authority and respect will actually improve. It’s really important that these challenges can be overcome as effective delegation can have wide-ranging benefits for delegator, delegator, company and customer.

3 tips that Managers might bear in mind:

  1. Forget your ego. Effective delegation will improve your authority and help build high performance teams. It is your job to develop people and your stock will rise, not fall
  2. Put your trust in your employees – very often they will be able to do the task better than you. You are not indispensable! But choose the task and delegatee carefully and use an appropriate style
  3. When delegating, plan your approach. Define the task, assess abilities then explain the reasons, the required result, the deadlines etc. And don’t forget feedback…


Don’t bury your head in the sand. Get delegating..

Candid with your Coaching?

We are all aware of the benefits of coaching in improving performance. Using tried and tested models, and careful guidance, the coachee discovers the solution for himself and the buy-in/ commitment is achieved. This is often done in a non threatening way. After all, we don’t want to upset anyone! But is that method right in all circumstances? Would we be better off just telling it as it is? Would some people prefer the no nonsense approach? For me, this approach of being more candid can work well but the coachee will need to understand how much you care for them and that your feedback is authentic. As such, real experience of showing benevolence to the coachee is required otherwise it can fall flat or feel aggressive. When the mix of challenging and caring is balanced, however, coaching with more candour than we have previously used can be beneficial. Agree?

Try our skills development programmes

This graphic will give you some idea of the subject areas of the programmes we can design and deliver. As you can see, a wide range of critical business skills areas are included. We can take the broad idea from the subject area and discuss with you what learning outcomes you are looking to achieve. Then we can construct a bespoke programme to meet your needs, tailored exactly to your situation. In this way, you get a programme which is designed specifically for you. And we do all this for the price of many “off the shelf” courses.

Why skills?

Our view is that not enough attention is devoted to skills which are so vital in implementing  product and technical knowledge. As such, we believe that knowledge without the skills (and the correct attitude!) will not be enough to meet the ever more discerning requirements of customers today. In other words, the skills of your workforce can be a major differentiating factor. So, it makes sense to upskill them. Thats what we are about. Our interventions can be bite sized, which can serve as a useful refresher (usually 1-2 hours) , through to major programmes.

Bespoke training for an off the shelf price?

For business training, you need look no further than us. We specialise in management and key business skills training and development. And, when you engage us directly, the cost savings will be significant. As such, we have provided bespoke business skills training for the cost of other “off the shelf” courses. When your training budgets are stretched, value for money is vital and we provide that quality, with a price you can feel comfortable with.  We work throughout the UK, from a South Wales base.

Take a look through and don’t hesitate to call us for a chat, totally without obligation. Oh, and ask for a free taster session. Have a look at Gareth’s LinkedIn profile which contains numerous endorsements and recommendations. It will demonstrate the wide range of subject areas we can train, all of which will be tailored to your particular situation.

Being Assertive Can Improve Your Relationships

Having an assertive communication style is generally good but many leaders and followers have a more passive style, possibly because they confuse assertiveness with aggression. And they are two different things as the following examples may illustrate. But because they want to avoid aggression, they become passive.

In groups, for example,  someone with an assertive style would participate whilst an aggressor would want control. The passive would want isolation from the group.

In considering the views of others, an assertive, whilst speaking to the point, would consider alternatives whilst the aggressor may only consider his/her own feelings. The passive, meanwhile would agree with others, irrespective of their feelings.

In general, the assertives value themselves as equal to others whilst the aggressors value themselves more than others.

Think you get the point.

When communicating, the behaviours of the assertive person manifest themselves in different but more positive ways than those exhibiting aggressive styles. Avoiding assertiveness because of a mistaken notion that it comes across as aggressive can lead to a nondescript type of behaviour. Many people are concerned that if they assert themselves others will think of their behaviour as aggressive. But there is a difference between being assertive and aggressive.

Assertive people state their opinions, while still being respectful of others. Aggressive people attack or ignore others’ opinions in favour of their own. Passive people rarely state their opinions at all.

I believe that Assertiveness is a key communication skill. It allows you to pursue your own objectives and stand up for your beliefs and rights whilst respecting the rights, values and beliefs of others. Assertive behaviour is the ultimate win-win behaviour. You can’t always get what you want from every situation but adopting assertive behaviour allows you to seek the best possible result for both parties. Even when you cannot reach a suitable compromise, assertive behaviour will help you to maintain a positive and friendly relationship.

If you think that a shift from passive behaviour to a more assertive style is required  it will help you to have an understanding of what assertive behaviour looks like.

Here are a few tips to get you thinking. Using these will I am sure improve your relationships

Give your opinion

In order to explain your point of view, you may need to express an opinion or explain your interpretation of events. Use phrases like ‘”In my opinion ….’. Otherwise it may appear that you don’t have any respect for the other person’s views

Seek alternative views

If you are offering your view, it is vital that you allow the other person to express theirs. Do not just assume that they will, actively seek their view, e.g.

‘How do you see it?

‘What are your thoughts?’

Asking for feedback and opinions demonstrates that you respect their opinion and you want to reach a common understanding.

Use descriptions not judgements

Avoid assumptions, judgements and opinions where possible. To do this, accurately describe what happened. When you do this, both parties have a point of agreement to start from. Here’s an example:

‘You have been late for our last 3 meetings. When you show up late for our meetings, I feel disrespected.’


If you feel angry, upset etc., it is important to remember that the other person did not choose for you to feel that way.  If you blame others for your feelings, it comes across as an attack and they go on the defensive. This closes down the channels of communication. Rather than blame, take ownership of your feelings

And, if you think your behaviour is too aggressive at times, try these tips

Give others a chance to speak.

Respect others’ opinions.

Be diplomatic.

e.g. Use “I disagree” instead of “You’re wrong”);

Choose assertive (not aggressive) language.

Focus on “I” not “You” language (for example, “I would like a chance to say something” instead of “You’re always interrupting”)

Avoid bullying and demanding behaviour.

Avoid expressions such as “you must” or “you have to” and focus on language like “I think it would be better if … ”

Avoid physically aggressive behaviour.

No more glaring, shouting, slamming doors, throwing things, or invading others’ personal space

It can take time and practice to become assertive but it will be well worth the effort.

New Manager? – Avoid the Pitfalls

If you’re just about to move into a management position for the first time, you might be wondering what’s in store for you.

You will be pleased to have been promoted and will be keen to show your mettle. But there are some potential  banana skins that you would be wise to avoid , especially in the early days, as you find your feet.

Here are a few tips which you may want to take on board:

  1. Make sure you understand what is expected of you. You’re a manager with specific responsibilities. Management is about getting results through others. You’re not a leader so it is unlikely that your role will include things like articulating the corporate vision.
  2. Don’t think that you’ve made it just yet. A bit like someone who has just passed their driving test, you will now learn how to do it i.e. to manage. Make sure you make regular assessments and analyses of your knowledge and skills, your strengths and weaknesses. Take responsibility for your ongoing development and discuss with your own boss ways and means of improving.
  3. Make time for your team or direct reports. Have an open door policy. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Engender trust and build relationships. No hidden agendas, no ambiguity. Be respectful to others and they will respect you. Be dependable, honest and consistent in your dealings.
  4. Maintain a positive attitude. Your team will not want to see you downcast. Have an optimistic but realistic outlook
  5. Avoid micro management where possible. This will be guaranteed to rub people up the wrong way, especially if you are now managing people who were once at your level. But also avoid a hands off policy. Try and strike the right balance
  6. In addition to understanding your role, make sure your reports understand theirs. Ensure that goals and targets are clearly written down and understood and behavioural rules are in place. Your reports must understand what the rules are and how far they can go with you. Set clear boundaries.
  7. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Give feedback, give praise for a job well done, watch the tone of your communications and, above all, listen. When I say listen, I mean listen actively and to understand, not just to reply. Listening is a key skill you will do well to master because it will convey your respect, build trust and relationships.
  8. Understand what motivates. Different people will be motivated by different things. Don’t assume everyone is motivated by money. Other motivational factors are recognition, a sense of achievement, job satisfaction. You will find out what motivates people by asking them and observing. Not difficult.
  9. Give people responsibility where appropriate. They will respond well to it
  10. Remember – you can’t do their job for them. Coach them, guide them and help them to learn but don’t do it for them.

Gareth Evans provides coaching, training and development in all Critical business skills areas

Can’t Coach? Won’t Coach?

Coaching has long been recognised as a vital way of developing skills and abilities in order to boost performance in business. In many organisations, including those in regulated environments, coaching is considered to be a proven approach in assisting with the achievement of targets and also in improving job satisfaction, relationships and general well-being. All good, you might think.

Why is it then that some managers don’t get involved in coaching? Having studied coaching in both business and sport over many years, I have come to recognise some of the reasons. Cynics might call some of them excuses.

Here’s a few to be going on with:

1. The company does not have an embedded coaching culture. The Manager then thinks that coaching is not what he signed up for so why should he bother? He’s there to get results and telling people what to do is the best way of achieving his targets. He simply doesn’t see the need for it.

2. The Manager does not understand what coaching is. He thinks monitoring is coaching. But, most of the time , all this involves is the regurgitation of figures which everyone knows anyway. Coach is a great title to have but it’s not about what it says on the back of your jacket, it’s what you do that counts.

3. The Manger vaguely understands coaching but pays lip service to it, this being reflected in an inconsistent, ambiguous approach to it. Direct reports will be confused by this method. Make your mind up. Get more training if you need it.

4. They don’t have enough time. Whilst I agree that coaching takes time, in the long term this will pay off. This is because the employee will no longer run to the Manager to ask what to do and how to do it. They will become more self reliant and as a result free up more of the Manager’s time. This is an excuse.

5. They are worried it will spoil the relationship. What relationship? Excuse! Delivered properly, coaching will improve the relationship, not detract from it. The “coachee” will come to respect your feedback and commitment to him. His self esteem will improve and his feel good factor will soar with his performance. Or you can keep telling him what to do or worse still, do it for him. And he will resent it. Your choice.

6. They don’t have the skills. True, perhaps. Skills in communication, relationship building and management. giving feedback, observation and assessment are key but they can be learned and developed. The important thing is does the Manager ( and the company) have the desire to:

a) improve relationships

b) improve communication , job satisfaction, loyalty

c) develop individuals, teams and organisations and achieve targets, goals and ambitions

If they do, it’s never too late to join the numerous companies who have seen massive benefits from establishing a coaching culture and developing it company wide.

So, where do you figure in the skill/will matrix. Can you do it? Will you do it?

Gareth Evans is a proven coach in both business and sport. He trains and coaches in all critical skills areas. Get in touch via He can design and deliver bespoke major programmes, 1 or 2 day courses or bite size high impact sessions.