Most people can agree that effective delegation is an important leadership skill, but delegating to others is often viewed as time-consuming and stressful—and therefore not worth the effort.
Even if they understand its value, many team leaders hesitate to delegate certain tasks because they worry that the tasks they pass along will be done wrong or poorly, leading to costly rework and wasted time.
However, when tasks are delegated in the right way, delegation can not only be a powerful tool for workplace efficiency, but one that is necessary for keeping up with the competition.
At CMOE, our experts have seen some of the very best—and the very worst—examples of workplace delegation.
Over the years, we’ve helped many teams learn how to use all of their team members most effectively to produce timely, quality results, and our extensive experience and ongoing research has led us to the answers business leaders seek about how to reap the benefits of successful delegation.
Here are three tips:
1. Know What Should Be Delegated
Delegation allows you to share the workload with your team members so that you have more time to focus on the assignments that require your particular set of skills and expertise.
It’s important to identify the tasks that can only be done by you, as well as other tasks that are best suited to your skill-set.
These are the things that you should make the time to complete yourself and should not be delegated to others.
Once you’ve identified these tasks, go through the rest of the items on your to-do list and determine whether someone else can be taught how to complete them.
Tasks that can be delegated usually have well-defined parameters.
2. Determine Who To Delegate To
One of the great things about teams is that you have a variety of talents, personalities, and types of experience at your disposal.
Properly utilizing the unique assets that each of your team members bring to the table could be the difference between successful or unsuccessful delegation.
When determining who to delegate to, always start with a list of the people who have the skills necessary to do the task, but are lower on the rungs of the company ladder.
This ensures that you do not assign a task to someone whose time could be better spent working on something else, and may also provide development opportunities to your team members.
Once you’ve narrowed down the list, consider which other skills would be helpful in completing the task.
Will they need good organizational skills?
Good people skills?
Come up with a list of skills that would allow the task to be accomplished successfully, and use this list to help you select the person best suited for the job.
Before making a selection, always be sure to consider each person’s current workload.
Assign tasks only to individuals who will be able to complete the assignment(s) without the additional work having a negative impact on their other job responsibilities.
3. Determine How You Will Delegate
The last step, and one of the most important, is coming up with a plan of action for teaching your team members how to successfully complete the new tasks they have been assigned.
Training others on how to do the work is the part that scares many people away from delegation, but if it’s done correctly, it won’t be nearly as stressful or time-consuming as you may think.
The first thing you should do is explain what the task is and why it needs to be done.
Tasks don’t exist in a vacuum; individual tasks are all connected to larger goals.
Cluing your team members in to why something needs to be done can help them figure out which parts of the job need to take top priority.
The next step will be to explain how much authority each team member has in independently making decisions about the task or assignment.
Make this very clear from the beginning. If your employees will be supervised as they complete their assignments, you will also need to determine who they will report to, and how often.
Lastly, don’t forget to give your employees some structure and the resources they’ll need to be successful.
Help the project stay on track by giving your team members specific milestones to hit, and provide them with everything they need to meet those goals.