How to Delegate Tasks Effectively: The Best Guide
If you’re a manager, you know how overwhelming it can be to be responsible for the success of your team and the company.
With the many responsibilities to handle, you can’t do everything alone, and here’s where delegation comes in.
Delegation is probably one of the most critical management skills to possess. However, it’s also one of the hardest to put into practice.
In this article, we will teach you how to delegate tasks effectively and provide practical tips for managers who want to improve their delegation skills.
What is delegation, and why is it so important?
In management, delegation is the process of assigning tasks or any type of responsibility to other members of your team.
By delegating, you’re allowing yourself to focus on more critical tasks and projects while also developing the skills of your team members, allowing them to grow.
Delegation is important for several reasons, including:
- Increased productivity: By delegating, you can increase productivity by assigning tasks to team members with the necessary skills and expertise to complete them efficiently.
- Better teamwork: Delegation allows you to promote teamwork as you’re encouraging your team to work together and share responsibilities.
- Less stress: When you delegate, you’re enabling yourself to focus on more essential tasks and projects and have less workload.
- Personal growth: You’re allowing your team members to develop their skills and expertise, as well as autonomy, by taking on new tasks and responsibilities.
But the main question remains: as a manager or project manager, how can you delegate tasks effectively? How do you do it confident that everything will go smoothly and there will be no hindrances?
Download ” The Complete Guide to Managing your Team’s Time”
Learn how to boost your team’s time management by leveraging the power of time tracking
How to delegate tasks effectively
First things first: effective delegation requires a clear understanding of your team’s strengths and weaknesses. It also requires knowledge of the tasks and responsibilities that need to be completed.
We strongly suggest you follow these steps to delegate effectively.
1. Identify the tasks
First, you need to know exactly which tasks need to be completed and what are the necessary skills and expertise required to complete them efficiently.
Remember, not every task can be delegated. So, as a first step, determine which tasks can be delegated and to whom.
For instance, if you’re leading a team, you know that performance reviews or even personnel matters of the team must be handled by you exclusively. However, many other day-to-day tasks don’t require your supervision.
Are there any tasks you regularly tackle despite knowing someone in your team is better equipped to complete them? Would assigning the project to other employees help boost their careers and ambitions?
If there’s someone who could do the work better, or you think this could be a teachable moment to allow them to grow, delegate.
It will show you trust and value your team while also giving you time to focus on more strategic projects. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Get to know the top prioritization methods that will help your team to focus
2. Choose the right person
Every employee should have work goals they wish to achieve, and within those goals are opportunities to delegate.
Based on your team’s skills, knowledge, and availability, choose the right person to take on the task you wish to delegate.
For example, you may have a team member who wants to gain management experience.
Is there an intern they could start supervising or a project they can oversee? By delegating, you’re allowing them to expand their career.
Still, don’t forget to consider their workload and other commitments they might have before delegating any task to that person. It’s essential to have enough time to get things done right.
For other types of tasks, there’s likely someone on your team with the specific skill set needed to achieve the desired results. So, give them a chance!
When someone has a higher chance of excelling, they’re more motivated and engaged, benefiting themselves and the whole business.
3. Define the desired outcome
Provide clear instructions on what needs to be done and explain everything to your team member. Simply putting work onto someone else’s plate isn’t delegating.
The projects you hand off should have proper context and a clear tie to the organization’s goals. This includes going through deadlines, expectations, and resources.
Ensure the person understands the tasks to their core and the expected results.
Before anyone starts working on a new project, they should know what they need to complete and by when. This needs to include the metrics you’ll be using to measure the success of their work.
4. Give them support
The person may have some difficulties in the beginning.
If the person you’re delegating work to needs specific training, resources, or authority to complete the assigned project, it’s your role as a manager to provide it to them.
If you’re running out of time, you can ask other team members to train him or he. This is an excellent way to give new tasks and challenges to your team.
Give all the necessary support and guidance to help that person complete the tasks efficiently. Ask any questions they might have, and make sure you provide constructive feedback on their progress.
Setting someone up for an impossible task will frustrate both the person and you.
Your colleague won’t be able to achieve the desired outcome, and then you’ll likely need to put that work back on your to-do list, which is very unproductive.
This is also where you need to fight the urge to micromanage, which many managers struggle to do.
Telling your co-worker, step-by-step, how you would accomplish the task and then controlling each part of the process won’t enable them to learn or gain new skills.
Instead, focus on the desired end goal and why the task is so important.
5. Establish clear communication
While you want to avoid micromanaging as much as possible, establish a clear and effective communication channel. By doing this, the person you’re delegating will feel comfortable asking questions and providing progress updates.
It’s normal they feel a bit lost in the beginning.
Setting up regular check-ins and providing feedback throughout the project can help.
Make sure you openly offer support and guidance to help them overcome any obstacles they may encounter on the way.
Did you know that clear communication is a key project management skill?
6. Leave room for failure
This step is crucial for you if you’re a control freak or a perfectionist. Don’t think your way is the only way to get things done.
You need to allow for failure, not because your employees might fail, but because it will enable experimentation and empower the person to take a new approach, evolve, and grow.
If you’re open to new ideas and approaches to the work, you’ll have an easier time delegating when able.
7. Be patient
This is a hard one. However, remember this: as a manager, you likely have more experience in your field than the person you’re delegating to.
There might be tasks that would only take you 30 minutes to complete. However, this new person will probably take 1 hour to finish.
Control the urge to refrain from delegating specific tasks or projects because you know you can get them done faster. Instead, be patient.
Put yourself in that person’s shoes and think about the first time you completed a task early in your manager career.
With time, your employee will become more and more familiar with the job and will get things done way faster over time.
Read our step-by-step guide to learn how to build a high-performing team.
8. Give and ask for feedback regularly
In addition to monitoring progress, you should also give frequent feedback to your employees after the tasks you’ve delegated are complete.
If a task wasn’t completed as delegated, don’t be afraid to offer constructive criticism. Your employees can take this feedback and make changes the next time a similar task is assigned and evolve.
On the other hand, remember to provide positive feedback and show appreciation when a task is done correctly.
This is an excellent way to keep your team motivated, boost your employee’s confidence, and keep the person productive.
To ensure you’re delegating effectively, you’ll also want to ask your team for any feedback they can give you.
Ask employees if you provided clear instructions and determine if there’s anything you can do better in the future.
9. Recognize and give credit
Ensure you recognize and reward the person in charge for their efforts and achievements. Doing this motivates that person and encourages them to keep going with their high-level performance.
The more you thank and credit those you’ve delegated work to, the more likely they will want to help you on other projects.
Most common errors and when you shouldn’t delegate
Delegating is a critical skill for managers to develop and can be a win-win when done appropriately. However, you can still trust something, and the process can’t be prone to errors.
Some common errors that managers make when delegating include the following:
- Not delegating enough: some managers may be reluctant to delegate tasks because they feel they can do the work better. But, as we’ve said before, your way is not the only way. Failing to delegate can lead to burnout, missed opportunities for development and growth, and the inability to achieve larger goals. This brings us to our second and one of the most common errors.
- Micromanaging: micromanaging is a common mistake that most managers make when delegating. Micromanaging can destabilize the trust and confidence your team members have in you and can result in poor overall performance and motivation.
- Not providing clear instructions: when delegating tasks and projects, it’s essential to be specific about what must be done, how it should be done, and what the expected outcome is. Provide clear instructions and guidance to avoid confusion, mistakes, and missed deadlines.
- Not delegating to the right person: delegating tasks to the wrong person on your team can be a recipe for disaster. Make sure you know your team well and everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to assess each team member’s powers and limitations and delegate tasks accordingly.
- Not providing adequate support: delegating tasks without the necessary support can frustrate everyone involved. It’s vital to ensure that team members have all the right resources, information, and guidance to complete the task successfully.
Did you know the average worker spends 51% of every workday on low to no value tasksdue to poor time management?
Keep your team focused on the right things with easy to use time tracking.
When managers shouldn’t delegate tasks
Delegating is generally good practice and brings many great benefits, but certain situations may not be appropriate. For example:
- When the task requires specific expertise or knowledge that only the manager possesses.
- When the manager is entirely responsible for the outcome and cannot afford to take any risks during the process.
- When the task is highly confidential or sensitive and requires the utmost discretion.
- When no team members are available with the necessary skills to take on the task.
Now that you know precisely what delegation is and how to delegate tasks effectively, you are in a great position to streamline your tasks and take your team’s productivity to a whole new level.
Delegation skills might seem complicated or scary initially, but it gets much easier as your trust levels increase and you can just let go.
Start small by delegating a few decisions to your team members, then add more responsibility over time.
When you organize work, you work on the tasks that have the highest priority for you, and other people work on meaningful and challenging assignments according to their skills.
So don’t be afraid to pass the baton. Becoming a great delegator might take some practice, but if you work at it, you’ll be as successful and productive as possible.
You might be interested in: