Delegation is assigning specific tasks or activities to another person. It is usually from a manager to a subordinate, and this skill is one of the core concepts of management leadership. It means that the person who delegated the work will remain accountable for the outcome of the delegated task. Delegation is a major key when it comes to maximizing your productivity and keeping yourself sane, especially when working on tight deadlines and heavy workloads, whether you are a manager, team leader, or in some related position of authority.
However, there are many leaders today who do not know how to delegate effectively, while some are not willing to delegate their tasks unless they absolutely need to. Many managers also admit that delegating is one of the most difficult things they have to do as part of their job. If you’re one of them, then you no longer have to worry. It’s because delegating tasks is a skill that can be learned and improved over time. To help you out, we are going to give you effective ways to improve your delegation skills.
Misconceptions about Work Delegation
If you think delegation is merely assigning menial tasks that a manager does not find likable, you need to revise your concepts about work delegation. Delegating work among your team members or other staff implies distributing work so that your team can finish deadlines promptly and get desired results.
Delegating tasks in the team does not mean you can blindly assign any task to anyone. Effective delegation is when you critically analyze and evaluate the potential of every team member and give them the tasks appropriately. A manager should also be aware of how well the employees can manage the workload and perform the job efficiently.
Here are some points related to why some managers often fail at delegating work effectively among their staff members:
- The team member does not have an understanding of the task
- They are not fully capable of understanding the value of that task
- The member does not possess the skills to finish the job
- There is a lack of sufficient tools to complete the work
- Not enough support for dealing with the challenges that accompany the delegated task
- They are not interested in the delegated work
Why Managers Need to Delegate
- It helps organizations expand in terms of employee skills and team performance.
- There are fewer power issues as everyone contributes to the completion of any project.
- With effective delegation, managers can focus on bigger things and more profitable opportunities for the team.
- Employees feel empowered as the delegation of work reflects the manager’s trust in his team members.
- Subordinates learn more and extensively help the company grow.
- There is an instant motivation rush in subordinates when a task is delegated to them as they feel their status is enhanced.
- Proper and effective delegation of work results in a continuous work cycle that never stops, even in the manager’s absence.
- Managers’ performances enhance when they learn to delegate some of their work as they are less frustrated or overburdened with work.
1. Prepare Your Employees
Although time constraints often do not fully prepare your employees for the delegated tasks, it is better to thoroughly discuss or overview the upcoming task. New employees or team members might take more time understanding and accepting a delegated task, so it might be better to turn to an experienced employee for more urgent tasks at hand.
2. Avoid Reverse Delegation
Again, time constraints on a deadline project might leave a manager no choice but to take the task back from the employee if they are unable to understand and complete it. However, if there is any chance you could avoid taking back the delegated tasks, then take this as a teaching opportunity.
You can coach the employee about the task, the resources they should utilize for completing the job on time, etc. It is similar to investing in your employee for the future urgent tasks delegated to them.
3. Learn to Let Go of Your Work
One of the biggest problems of leaders and managers is the inability to let go of their work or tasks. There are people who are very dedicated to completing their own work that they refuse to get help from other people. Sometimes, they also feel that nobody else has the skills needed to execute the work effectively, which also scares them. But whatever reason you have, it is important that you learn to let go.
You can do this by delegating small tasks first and then working your way up gradually. It can also help if you get to know your team or people better to be able to improve trust with one another. Take small steps, and eventually, you will be able to let go of your work, especially if you really want your team to become successful.
4. Delegate Tasks to Appropriate People
When delegating tasks, it requires your thought and consideration to be able to delegate them to appropriate people. It’s because when you choose the wrong person, you will find yourself spending too much time training and supporting him, which is not ideal if you want to get the job done faster.
Therefore, before you delegate tasks, take time to observe your team members first and learn their strengths, weaknesses, values, and current and potential skills. This will enable you to match the right person to the right job, and you will be able to delegate the work to those who can actually deliver.
5. Categorize Your Tasks
To improve your delegation skills, you can divide the tasks into different categories. For example, you can create categories depending on the degree of effort a task requires as well as the degree of skill. The tasks in the highest-skilled category are the ones that you’ll keep on your own plate, while those in the lower-skilled categories are the ones you will delegate to others. Establishing a priority system will help you understand the nature of your tasks and delegate them to your people efficiently.
6. Include Instructions with the Tasks
The process of the tasks you will be delegating is, of course, obvious to you. However, when you delegate those tasks, make sure to include instructions, especially when you have specific preferences for how the task will be carried out. For example, if you have a strict deadline for a specific task, you need to inform your people and be clear about them.
When you include instructions in the tasks you will delegate, make sure that they are clear and straightforward to avoid communication gaps. This is a proactive strategy for you and your team members, and it is also a great way to improve your delegation skills.
7. Trust Your People but Verify
When you delegate a task, you need to trust your team member to execute it on his own. This will enable that person to do the work the way he feels is best. But you should not be afraid to step in occasionally and verify if the task is going as planned. For example, if the task you had delegated a week ago is due the next day, you need to trust that your team member is on top of things, but you also need to verify to make sure that he has not hit any snags. By doing this, you will be able to encourage more trust and respect within your team as well.
8. Communicate Openly with Your Employees
Two-way communication is a key component in managerial duties. When you delegate tasks to your employees, you shouldn’t turn your back after doing so. You need to stay in regular communication with them about the status of the task and the timing as well so that there will be no surprises. For example, you can simply ask them from time to time how they are finding the task or if they are encountering any problems. This way, you will be able to help them immediately instead of making them repeat the whole task if you find any problems once it’s done.
9. Use Feedback to Improve Delegation
The most important part of the delegation process is feedback, and it can work both ways. When your team members finish the tasks you gave them well, then you should let them know that you appreciated their efforts publicly. You can thank them and offer genuine praise. If ever there are some errors on the task or if they have fallen short, you should not be afraid to give them constructive criticism.
After the tasks you’ve delegated are done, you can invite your team members to share their thoughts about your delegation skills. It is a great way for you to know whether you are giving them enough information or if you are delegating the tasks to the right people.
These are some of the effective ways you can try to improve your delegation skills. Delegating tasks is not an easy thing to do, but when you try to practice these ways, you will be able to develop your skills soon and delegate tasks to your people effectively. If you also want to develop your leadership skills, you can check out our post on the 10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Leadership Skills for more tips.