Improving Self-Storage Management Skills Through Delegation

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By Marty Stanley

“D’oh!” It’s what TV cartoon dad Homer Simpson says when something goes wrong. Why is delegation one big “D’oh!” for a lot of supervisors?

There can be some fear about delegating tasks or projects because without proper planning, a lot of things can go wrong. When it comes to delegating projects, how often have you said:  

  • “I can do it faster.”
  • “I can do it better.”
  • “It will take too long to tell someone how to do it.”

But what often happens is you feel swamped or overwhelmed with too much to do, then delegate a task to someone just so you can meet a deadline. If things go wrong, you think, “I’ll never do that again!” But remember, a key to a person’s success is the ability to develop other people, and delegation is one way to do it. Here are four tips on how to turn “D’oh! I’ll never do that again!” to “Oh! That’s how to do it!”

Failing to Plan Is Planning to Fail

Plan the delegation process well in advance of the due date. Unless you’re very skilled at delegation, it’s not a good idea to shoot from the hip. Some questions to guide you in this process include:

  • What are the outcomes you want to achieve?
  • What potential problems can arise?
  • What skills does the person who will do the project need?
  • What are appropriate checkpoints to see how things are going?

Looking for Mr. or Ms. Right

Pick a self-storage manager who has the essential skills to do the task. For example, if the project or task is detailed and requires accuracy, choose someone who excels at attention to detail. Or if a project needs creative thinking, match the project to the manager who shows the ability to think outside the box or has creative problem-solving skills.

Delegating projects or tasks can be a good way to develop self-storage managers in their careers. A lot depends on the experience of the person and the level of trust and communication you’ve established as well. One way to look at delegation in terms of development is to think about delegating for skill development or professional development.

Generally speaking, a person who’s just started his career will benefit from delegated tasks related to his immediate work performed. People who are looking to climb the company ladder will benefit from tasks or projects that are outside of their immediate scope of responsibility and will help them go to the next level.

If you have confidence in the person and he has an established track record of successful performance, it may be easier to delegate more complex projects that are outside of his skill set. These types of situations are good for delegating projects to expand a manager’s depth or range of skills. However, if the other person is relatively new to the job, avoid making assumptions that he’s able to take on a complex project or task. Closer supervision may be required.

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