Learning how to delegate effectively is the key to leveraging yourself and multiplying your value to your company. Delegation allows you to move from what you can do personally to what you can manage.
Whether you’re a team leader, an entrepreneur, or in some similar position of authority, delegation is going to be a major key to maximizing your productivity and keeping yourself sane during tight deadlines or large workloads. The problem is, many entrepreneurs and leaders don’t know how to delegate effectively, or aren’t willing to do it unless they absolutely have to.
Delegating tasks is a skill that, like any skill, can be learned and improved on overtime. Put these five delegation strategies into practice and watch as your organization’s efficiency increases:
Learn to let go.
The biggest problem most new bosses and leaders face is the inability to let go of their own work. Sometimes they feel so dedicated to completing their own work that they refuse to let other people help. Other times, they fear that nobody else has the skills or abilities necessary to execute the work effectively.
Whatever the case may be, your first priority needs to be to learn to let go. Start small, delegating only the smallest tasks, and gradually work your way up. Get to know your team better and improve the trust among you and your co-workers. Take baby steps and know that eventually, you will have to let go of your work if you want your team to be successful.
Know what to delegate and what to keep.
Deciding which tasks to delegate can sometimes seem like an overwhelming task itself. Think about it in terms of time management. You’re working on letting go of things that are weighing you down.
Primarily, you’ll want to identify two different types of tasks: Tasks that are not within your primary skillset: You could do them, but it would take you longer than someone who has a lot of experience and skill in that area. Tasks that anyone can do: If anyone could complete these tasks, then they don’t need your special attention.
Think about setting up a website, or publishing new content on your existing site. Sure, you can learn WordPress or any other content management system. And it isn’t really difficult to format, proof and publishes a page on the web these days.
Explain why you’re delegating.
If you’re delegating a task to someone out of the blue, it really helps when you provide context for why you’re giving them that responsibility. “When you select people to delegate to, tell them why you chose them specifically and how you hope to see this help them grow,” says Alex Cavoulacos, founder of The Muse. “Help them see each delegated task as an opportunity to take on more responsibilities or grow new skills.”
Always include instructions.
Even if the task process seems obvious to you, make sure to include instructions with each task you delegate. If you have specific preferences for how the assignment will be carried out, include that information.
If you have a strict deadline or milestones you need to hit, be clear about them. Including details and straightforward instructions from the get-go will avoid most communication gaps and will allow your tasks to be executed effectively. It’s a proactive strategy that both you and your employees will appreciate.
The importance of full acceptance.
When delegated work is delivered back to you, set aside enough time to review it thoroughly. If possible, only accept good quality, fully-complete work. If you accept work you are not satisfied with, your team member does not learn to do the job properly. Worse than this, you accept a whole new tranche of work that you will probably need to complete yourself. Not only does this overload you, it means that you don’t have the time to do your own job properly.
Of course, when good work is returned to you, make sure to both recognize and reward the effort. As a leader, you should get in the practice of complimenting members of your team every time you are impressed by what they have done. This effort on your part will go a long way toward building team member’s self-confidence and efficiency, both of which will be improved on the next delegated task; hence, you both win.