delegate delegation leadership

How to delegate effectively in 9 steps.

One of the main changes when you step from being an individual contributor to being a manager is to learn how to delegate to your team members some of the tasks that you or your team is responsible for.

As we will see, there are many reasons to delegate tasks to your team members. That goes from improving your productivity to improving your team’s motivation by taking on tasks that might not even be in their role responsibilities.

In this blog post, we will explore what delegation is, why it is essential for managers, and some of the fundamental steps to delegate effectively.

What is delegation?

Delegation is the act of assigning tasks and initiatives to others. There are many reasons to delegate tasks, but by far, the most important for managers is to enable managers to maximize personal productivity.

Why is delegation important, in particular for managers?

It is easy to get involved in all aspects that concern your team when you are a manager or, in particular, when you are a new manager.

What are the barriers for managers to delegate?

Not only might it be challenging to delegate, but it also can be difficult to know what to delegate. It is particularly challenging for new managers to do this effectively.

When to delegate work?

As we have seen, delegation is a win-win situation but not every task is a good candidate for delegation. To assess if a task is a good candidate for delegation, start by asking yourself these five questions:

1 – will this task provide an opportunity to develop and grow the other person’s skills?

2 – will this task be recurrent in the future in a similar form?

3 – will you have sufficient time to delegate this task effectively? e.g. good time for adequate training, being available for questions and clarifications, having time for regular progress checks and adequate time to rework if required?

4 – should you delegate this task? Tasks that are critical for long-term success will genuinely need your attention. e.g. Recruiting or at least defining recruitment standards and practices, defining the strategy and vision for your team or department.

Nine steps to delegate

1 – Know when to delegate

Knowing how to delegate work will help you understand how to link people with tasks that make the best use of their skills.

When deciding the tasks to delegate, ask the following questions:

  • Does this task require your attention to be successful?
  • Will this work contribute to the personal development of the task will be assigned?
  • Do you have sufficient time to support who you will delegate this task?
  • Do you expect this task to occur in the near future?

2 – Identify the right person to execute the task

Finding the right person for delegation is a very important aspect of a successful delegation. This involves the right balance of skills, willingness to learn, and being coachable and interested. The more junior the employee is the more guidance he or she will need so therefore set aside appropriate time to support them. Additionally, be respectful about how busy the person that you are going to delegate to as if they are already with sufficient on their plate is probably not the best to add more.

3 – Get the person that you are going to delegate the task excited about working on this task

Once you find the person that you would like to delegate to is time to get their buy-in to accept the new responsibility. Tell him or her why you selected specifically them to delegate that piece of work.

4 – Be very clear and specific about the work to be executed

Is crucial to explain to who the task is being delegated, what is exactly expected from them and when is due. Also, it is as much important to explain the context where this task fits in as a more high-level vision not only to get a more buying to the high-level vision but also to make sure that the person has the broader context in mind when deciding how to execute the task in particular when is more senior employees and therefore their autonomy to come up with solutions is expected.

5 – Be specific about what needs to be done but leave details and possible solutions open to them

One of the most common causes of losing motivation is micromanagement. So if certain things have a specific way to be done, document it and explain when delegating the task. Then trust the person will take that into account and leave it with them. Senior people usually expect to be given less oversight.

6 – Give context about the consequences and importance of the task

What will happen if the person you delete a task to doesn’t deliver? The task’s importance must be clear to the person you are delegating to help build accountability.

7 – Take feedback seriously

Every leader has a blind spot. Don’t consider yourself perfect listen to feedback and improve your behaviour.

More importantly, reflect on real results on the delegation process is working:

  • Were the results that you expected initially completed successfully?
  • Did they feel empowered to find a solution and unblock problems autonomously along the way?
  • What improvements can be made to make the delegation better?

8 – Support your employees and colleagues

Make sure that you stay around not micromanaging but providing needed resources and support from you. Connect them with training and materials to develop skillsets they don’t already have.

Throughout the project, periodically ask your employees if they need support or clarification. Make sure that it is clear that you trust them to do the work and you want to create the space for them to ask for help if needed but keep going autonomously if they can.

9 – Show appreciation for their commitment

When someone completes a task or project you delegated, show genuine appreciation and provide specific feedback on things they did well or wrong.

When you provide this information, you give people a blueprint of what they should do to succeed.

What are you delegating? What are or were your struggles to delegate? Leave in the comments down below…

If you would like to read more, check out all my articles. In particular about leadership, management, strategic thinking, decision making and self-improvement.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *