The Art of Delegating: How to Do This Like a Pro
Not so long ago, we’ve already mentioned this topic in the 10 productivity tips that empower anyone to do more with fewer efforts. Now it’s time to dive deeper into the topic, especially considering that if a specialist can avoid delegating, a manager should treat it as a must-have at work.
What Is It?
Delegation is the assignment of tasks to someone else — it may be an either in-house specialist, a freelancer or an outsourced employee. Still, many of us forget that not only tasks are directed to colleagues when delegating but responsibility, and sometimes, authority is passed as well.
Of course, you as a manager may check every step of your teammate at first until you fully trust them the responsibility for the result.
Haven’t You Delegated Yet?
There are several top reasons why managers can’t easily allow themselves to assign tasks to colleagues. Here are they, and you can select what you think when delegating anything:
- ‘I will complete the task faster and better.’
- ‘I can’t fully trust others, as I am the manager who’ll be responsible for the result.’
- ‘Others don’t have this knowledge, so it will take time to teach them.’
- ‘Colleagues’ to-do lists are already full of tasks.’
However, as Richard Branson said, ‘Most entrepreneurs are driven personalities, but you can’t overcome challenges and bring new ideas to the market through the sheer force of personality alone. You need to learn to delegate.’
Let’s Learn How to Delegate Tasks and Maintain the Perfect Quality of Work!
In this article, we’ll tell you how to prepare people and instructions so that you are not afraid of getting poor results. :)
1. Delegate Not That Important Tasks
Passing strategic tasks to a new team member might be truly risky, but what if routine things keep you away from tackling those important goals? It’s time to set a list of what you’ll delegate:
Jenny Blake, career and business strategist, recommends dividing your tasks into the following categories:
- Tiny. Minor things each of those requires several minutes but in general, they consume several hours per day, for example, sorting emails, scheduling, booking business meetings.
- Tedious. These are things that don’t require special education but need much time and attention, for example, keeping databases and syncing them with CRMs.
- Time-consuming. These are regular tasks that can be done using a template but take all your time. If you are not ready to delegate all such tasks, it’s possible to break them into chunks and delegate part of them.
- Teachable. If tasks need special skills and knowledge but don’t require years of MBA education, you can mentor a team member and delegate them.
- Terrible at. If you feel that you lack some skill and there’s a colleague who will perform better and faster, delegate such a task.
- Time-sensitive. If the deadlines are tight and the amount of work is really enormous, share urgent tasks with team members.
2. Choose the Right People
Pay attention to people’s strengths and weaknesses before handling them a task. Also, it has to be consistent with their professional goals, and people should clearly see how it corresponds to the company’s mission.
3. Outline a Detailed Instruction and Desired Outcome
Without this, colleagues will do everything their own way. If there are must-have’s or a special direction they must follow, create a document that will lead them. The more details it contains, the fewer inaccuracies will be there.
4. Dedicate Some Time to Training
Not always do people have the same set of skills you have. So, providing instructions may be not enough.
Sam Throness from Getting People Right outlined four steps of delegation that will make the process more productive:
- ‘Step 1. I do the task and you watch me.
- Step 2. We do the task together.
- Step 3. You do the task while I watch.
- Step 4. Set up a feedback loop and let them go!’
5. Answer Questions and Assist People
In any case, people to whom you delegate tasks may have additional questions that arise while their work is in progress, regardless of whether they are well-skilled and possess the necessary knowledge. Don’t ignore them and be ready to help, if you want the results to be perfect.
If you have a busy schedule, find a time slot for answering questions and directing your mates.
6. Be Patient and Ready to Failures
If something goes wrong, don’t be in a hurry to say ‘Goodbye’ to the employee who dealt with the task. Analyse mistakes, show them what to do differently and give them one more chance.
If the same failure repeats several times, think about whether you’ve chosen the right person for the work.
7. Set Realistic but Tight Deadlines
Sometimes, people miss deadlines for tons of reasons, even not important ones. To make sure that everything will be done in time, set more tight deadlines, however, stay realistic.
This will create room for fixing mistakes if there are some.
8. Share Useful Feedback and Be Grateful
Point at mistakes and what could be done better but also appreciate the success and note the progress.
Recognition of achievements works not worse than financial reward and raises motivation, so next time teammates will be ready for new endeavours.
9. Cultivate Culture of Trust
Finally, learn to trust others and less doubt that people won’t meet your expectations. When you have planned well who will tackle the task, given detailed instructions and are always ready to help, be sure that everything will be fine.
Also, show employees by your own example that colleagues can be trusted, and they are really professionals in their field.