Many people in management roles either don’t know how to delegate effectively, or aren’t willing to do it unless it’s absolutely necessary. Here are three tips to help managers master the art of delegation.
- Learn to let go. For most people, learning to let go of some of the work is the toughest part. Some people like to complete the work on their own and others refuse to let others help. Some people fear that nobody has the skills necessary to complete the work. I once heard my boss say, “If I can delegate a project to an employee and that person can get 80% of the project done, then that’s 80% of the project that I don’t need to worry about.” Start by delegating smaller tasks and gradually work your way up. You’ll need to learn to let go of your work if you want your team to be successful.
- Know your staff’s strengths. As a leader, you should know the strengths and weaknesses of your team. When delegating, managers often give the work to the employee with the lightest work load. Instead, you should be delegating the work to the employee who has the best skills to accomplish the task, regardless of how much work the other person may have. Remember, that employee could also delegate other work to the employee with the lightest work load. It’s also important to be consistent. Delegate the same type of tasks to the same individual and over time, that person will not only get faster at completing the work, but they’ll also understand how you like things to be done.
- Something always gets lost in translation. Even if the tasks seem obvious to you, it probably won’t seem obvious to someone else trying to complete the work for the first time. Instructions can include specific preferences, deadlines or milestones. Be direct and detailed to avoid any problems.
Delegating tasks is a skill that takes time to master. It isn’t always easy, but the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll develop the expertise to do it effectively. Learn from your experiences and make adjustments for improvement so you’ll be able to better delegate tasks in the future.