Good management means good delegation. Though it can take some upfront effort, you should delegate a task if:
- It is simple and someone else can do it well
- There is a chance to develop the skills of someone on your team
- You are strapped for time
- You can’t do it yourself
- Someone else can do it better
Here are five ways to delegate more efficiently.
1. Communicate Expectations & Check-In
Setting and communicating expectations is an important part of delegating. In order to have projects run smoothly, you need to make sure the person you’re passing a task to knows what is needed.
It’s also important to meet with your employees regularly to “confirm understanding and commitment. This is a common failure in delegation discussions.” – SHRM.org
So, while it might seem like delegation is a license to sit back while someone else does the work, this is not the case. It’s important to not only let your employees know what you expect but also have them indicate to you they are on the right track.
2. Play To Worker’s Strengths
When delegating, play to your worker’s strengths.
“A strength is defined as anything that produces “near perfect” performance consistently… Strength-based management focuses on and grows the strengths of a company’s employees. This management style is supported by research showing that it’s better to spend time, energy and money investing in and growing the strengths of your employees rather than focusing on and developing their weaknesses.” – Edge Training
So, when choosing someone to complete a particular task, ask yourself if they have the knowledge and skills to get the job done. This will optimize delegation.
3. Ask Employees For Guidance
Asking your employees what they would like to do is another way to shape delegation around their strengths.
It might seem counter intuitive to ask for help when delegating, but Gallup has come up with 5 questions to ask during delegation to help managers zero in on the natural talents of their employees.
So before you assign the next task, try asking:
1. “What do you know you can do well but haven’t done yet?
2. What sorts of activities do you finish and think, “I can’t wait to do that again”? Or what are you doing — inside or outside work — when you’re truly enjoying yourself?
3. What have you done well that you didn’t need someone to explain how to do?
4. What have other people told you you’re great at doing?
5. What activities are you doing when you are unaware of time passing?” – Gallup
Some responsibilities are more coveted than others. If you know there are two or three people who can complete the task equally, pose it to them. You can assign the task to whoever is most eager to get the job done.
“The test is whether a person experiences an intrinsic satisfaction or joy while doing the activity.” – Edge Training
4. Learn To Let Go
To delegate means that you have to let go.
Some tasks will be new to everyone on your team and it might not be clear who should be responsible for it. However, doing everything yourself is not practical or sustainable.
If an employee is new to a task, focus on what they do, not how they do it. “Focus your expectations on the end result rather than the process. As long as an employee is getting their work in on time, and their methods aren’t costing the company more, let them tackle work however they see fit. – COO Alliance Blog
As discussed in our 10 Ways To Welcome New Employees article, employees often bring a fresh perspective you don’t have, so don’t be surprised to find yourself being inspired by some of the ways they get the job done!
5. Trust Your Employees
Last but not least, trust your employees. Have faith they will be able to handle the tasks you delegate in an acceptable manner.
“Good employees thrive when they have a sense of autonomy. Show employees you trust them by letting them call the shots sometimes.” – COO Alliance Blog
Check-ins are necessary but avoid the temptation to micro-manage everything employees do.
Effective delegation skills take practice. It’s a balance of knowledge, foresight and the ability to steer your team on the right path. It takes patience and cunning.
Since there are many times in your management life when you will find yourself having to pass off tasks to others, follow these tips for a much smoother ride!
If you have questions or would like more information, I’d be happy to help. Please send us an email, and my team will get in touch with you!