In order to be a good manager, you need to learn how to effectively delegate tasks. If you want to do more work, you are going to need extra help. That means getting more people on board.
Just because you are the manager or team leader, does not mean that you can or should do all the tasks. Besides, even if you have the skills to do everything, there isn’t enough time. Which means, knowing what is important when it comes to delegating work, so you can do it successfully.
What is Delegating?
Delegating tasks means to assign responsibility to someone to do something. Usually, it is a manager or someone more senior that gives a task or a project to another team member to complete.
Delegating some of the time-consuming tasks to other lower-level employees or contractors is a common practice among efficient business owners and managers. It allows them to focus on other tasks that require their full attention and expertise.
The Importance of Delegating
Delegating tasks is a skill that will not only increase your own productivity and value, it will also maximize the productivity of your teams. If you, as a manager, delegate tasks effectively, you will expand the amount of work and responsibility that you can deliver.
A big part of being a manager is to develop people. Delegation is the means by which you can best utilize your team. If you organize the work so that you are working on the tasks where you can contribute the most, and others are working on meaningful and challenging tasks themselves, as a team, you have better chances of success.
Successful Delegation Strategies
Delegation is not always easy. You may need to change your process occasionally, or learn on the go. But delegating tasks is skill that can be learned and improved over time. Here are the six basic delegation strategies which, when put into practice, can help you get more done.
#1 Plan Carefully and Establish a Priority System
To delegate tasks effectively, you must create a clear plan and prioritize the work. This priority-based plan should sort the work according to skill and effort. Make sure that you keep the appropriate highest-skill tasks on your plate, while delegating the high-effort, low-skill tasks to someone else. But if you manage a cross-functional team, make sure to assign high-skilled tasks to area-experts. It will save time and increase team productivity.
#2 Use Your Coworkers’ Strengths to Match the Person to the Job
As a leader, you need to be aware of your team’s strengths and weaknesses, including their current and potential range of skills. The most effective way to delegate responsibilities is to match the task to someone with the most suitable skill set. Staying consistent and delegating the same type of tasks to the same person also helps because it will increase the individual’s ability to complete those tasks (faster).
#3 Give Clear Instructions on What Should be Done and How
Even for the most obvious tasks, make sure to be clear about how you expect the tasks to be done, and what is the end-result you aim for. Make sure to state your preferences and deadlines. Including instructions from the start will help avoid any confusion. This kind of proactive approach will ensure a proper and timely task completion. One way to do this is to use project management tools, such as an online Kanban tool that make the process more transparent and communication more straightforward.
#4 Teach New Skills if Necessary
Occasionally, you might encounter work that requires a specific skill or knowledge that no one on the team possesses. This doesn’t mean you can’t delegate that work. Most skills can be learned. So be flexible about training one or more employees. Perhaps the first few times it will take them more time to complete a task. But in the long run, their professional development will allow the team to take on more similar work.
#5 Trust, but Monitor and Verify
After you delegate tasks, trust your team members to execute them on their own terms. Allow them to do the work the way they feel is best. However, monitor their performance and periodically check in to ensure the work is progressing as planned. Also, stay available to answer any question or assist them if they hit an obstacle.
#6 Use Feedback Loops to Improve Delegation
Feedback is a crucial part of delegation. And it’s a two way process. Make sure to publicly acknowledge when team members do the job well. And provide constructive criticism when they’ve fallen short. But more importantly, encourage them to openly discuss how well you are delegating. Whether you are assigning the right tasks to right people, or if you provide enough information and assistance.
Trust is the Foundation of Good Delegation
How you delegate responsibilities to others can be different each time you start working on a new project or work with a new team. But successful delegation relies on two key abilities: learning to let go of the work and trusting that your team is skilled enough to do the work properly.
If you initially find it hard to give up some of the more important work, start by getting to know your team and their capabilities by delegating smaller tasks. Then, gradually, as you all learn you can rely on each other, start delegating bigger assignments. The process of delegating tasks might never be perfected, but you can learn from experience and adjust as you move along.