The ability to delegate tasks is a critical skill for leaders. Successful managers must understand the art of delegation and take steps to ensure that it is executed efficiently. However, delegating tasks can be challenging, as managers may have difficulty trusting their team or relinquishing control over projects that they have been overseeing since their inception.
Additionally, delegating often requires more frequent feedback cycles than completing the work oneself. These concerns are entirely valid and understandable. It can be challenging to share responsibilities, but mastering the art of delegation can be incredibly beneficial in the long run.
In this article, we will discuss how you can master the art of delegation and share some important delegation tips for leaders.
1. Get Comfortable with Delegating
Sometimes the biggest obstacle to delegating is relinquishing control. Regardless of how much one desires to do everything on their own, it is just not practical. Many people often feel like they are the only ones who can complete a task correctly, but that is true very rarely.
The first thing to do is to know what’s stopping a person from delegating. Is it the fear that someone else’s work will not be up to the mark? Or is it that they will miss the deadlines?
Once a person has identified the reason, they can work to overcome it. Nevertheless, some people are still apprehensive about delegation. If you are one of them, it’s best that you start small and gradually ease into it. Start by delegating small and low-risk tasks first, then work your way up. With time, the delegation will become less demanding and more habitual.
2. Know What to Delegate
Not all tasks can be delegated. For example, tasks such as performance reviews or personnel matters are best handled by the person in charge. Having knowledge of each employee’s strengths and weaknesses and selecting the right talent will enable one to assign deliverables effectively and delegate tasks to the appropriate team members.
However, several day-to-day activities do not require direct oversight. If an individual finds themselves frequently completing a task that another team member is better equipped to handle, delegation may be the optimal solution. This approach may assist in enhancing the team member’s careers and providing a learning opportunity for them. Delegating tasks to capable team members demonstrates trust and highlights their value to the team. Furthermore, it frees up the individual to focus on more strategic projects.
3. Delegate According to Employee’s Strengths and Goals
It is essential for all employees to have goals that they strive towards, and delegation opportunities should be aligned with those goals. For instance, suppose an employee is interested in gaining management experience. In that case, delegating tasks such as supervising an intern or assigning them to execute a well-defined project could be valuable towards their professional development plan.
For other tasks, there may be a team member with the necessary skill set required to accomplish the task efficiently. Leveraging an individual’s strengths can contribute to their motivation and engagement, benefiting the entire organization. When an individual is more likely to excel, they become more motivated, which can lead to improved engagement and benefit the entire business.
4. Define the Goals
Merely assigning tasks to individuals is not enough. It is crucial to explain precisely what needs to be accomplished. Defining the desired outcome and setting a timeframe for its completion can help clarify what a successful task completion entails.
For tasks that have a short turnaround time, it is best to establish a specific end date and check in at least once before the task is due. For longer-term projects, it is advisable to establish a set of goals and schedule routine check-ins that are spaced out between the present and the due date.
5. Trust Your Team Members
After delegating a task, it is essential to grant the assigned individual full ownership and authority to carry it out. Trusting that they will complete the task accurately and on time is crucial.
Although it is acceptable to have the occasional “how’s it going?” chat, doing so frequently may create the impression that you don’t trust them. To prevent this from happening, establish a check-in schedule at the start of the project and only deviate from it when necessary.
6. Share and Ask for Feedback
It is important to provide feedback to employees once the delegated tasks are completed. If a task is not completed as assigned, one should provide constructive criticism to assist the employees in improving their performance in the future. Conversely, one should provide positive feedback to show appreciation for a job well done.
To ensure effective delegation, it is also essential to request feedback from the team. Ask them if the instructions were clear and if there is anything one can do to improve their delegation skills.
In conclusion, mastering the art of delegation is a crucial skill for any leader or manager. When you delegate effectively, you can empower your team, boost their skills and confidence, and free up your own time to focus on strategic tasks that require your attention. Following the delegation tips and strategies outlined in this article can make you a more effective delegator and a more successful leader.
Kim Dalius, of Los Angeles, California, is a success coach and Owner of Mental Minutes Success Coaching. Through her services, Kimberly Dalius helps people to realize their true potential and reach new levels of success in both their personal and professional lives.