Delegating tasks sound simple. People understand it as a manager or a leader just handing out tasks to their subordinates or employees, but there’s more to it than that. Delegating is a skill that requires study and understanding, just like any other skill one needs to develop to manage or run a business. Delegation requires trust, clear communication, and coordination.

The Importance of Delegation

If you own a business, or if you’re the leader of your team, you know how it’s impossible to everything on your own in a business or a project. Not only does delegation lighten your load and save time, but it also empowers your employees. Delegation builds trust, establishes clear communication, and helps with their professional development.

As a leader, developing this skill will help you identify who is best suited to tackle tasks or projects.


Why Managers Fail to Delegate

1. They think delegation is merely passing off work to someone else

2. Managers think they can do it better

3. They’re nervous about letting tasks go

4. Managers worry that delegating will take longer than just doing the work


How to Know when Delegating is Appropriate

person on a laptop
Photo by Malte Helmhold on Unsplash

One of the common roadblocks to delegation is that some managers aren’t sure which tasks should or shouldn’t be assigned.

 Career and business strategist Jenny Blake suggests conducting an audit of your tasks using the rules below to find out which tasks should or shouldn’t be delegated:

  • Tiny Tasks are little things that only take a small amount of time to complete, but add up over time. These could be tasks that an assistant can manage: Scheduling meetings, booking flights, organizing the inbox.
  • Tedious Tasks are mindless tasks that require little skill and can be easily delegated. They’re usually tasks that require copy-pasting and filling up forms or transferring information from one platform to another.
  • Time-consuming Tasks are usually bigger projects that need to be broken into smaller portions to be delegated to others. If you perform a task regularly that takes a lot of time, look for opportunities to hand off segments of that task to others.
  • Teachable Tasks are work that you could easily teach to someone else. An entirely teachable task can be something that doesn’t require your expertise.
  • Tasks you have no expertise in may take you longer if you so even attempt to do it. If an expert at something you’re not familiar with can help out, you’re better off delegating such tasks to them.
  • Time-sensitive Tasks might be better off being handle by you, but if you won’t have time to complete them on your own, be sure to delegate parts of that tasks to other team members.

If you recently moved to a leadership role, you may need to consider delegating tasks that you love doing but are no longer part of your job.


Effective Task Delegation

Here are a few tips on how to be a more effective delegative leader and how to effectively delegate tasks:

1. Choose the right person for the task at hand

A good leader understands each of their team members’ strengths, weaknesses, and preferences. If you’re delegating tasks that require collaboration, it’s best to delegate those tasks to someone who cooperates well with a team, not someone who prefers to work alone.

If you’ve conducted an evaluation of responsibilities, try to go through your list of tasks with your team and let them choose whichever they’re interested in taking over. Letting people choose tasks is a good way to build trust and inspire engagement among your team.

2. Explain why you’re delegating

It helps to let your team members know why you’re giving them a certain responsibility. When you select people to assign tasks to, telling them why you chose them and how you hope to see this grow them. It allows them to see the responsibility as an opportunity to grow.

3. Give the right instructions

A good delegating leader provides important information without micromanaging. You can try delegating results rather than methods. 

Tell your team members what goals or milestones you’re hoping to hit and let them tackle the challenges on their own, in their own way.

Let them grow by not micromanaging and allowing them to do their own methods, as they’re likely to complete a task differently than you would.

4. Provide resources and training

A good delegating leader doesn’t just assign a task without providing them the tools and resources needed for their project to succeed. 

“A good training rule of thumb is ‘I do, we do, you do,’ (here’s how I do it, let’s do it together, now you try).”

When you assign a task, make sure that besides offering them the resources they need, you also provide a way for them to work on the skills needed to finish the tasks.

5. Delegate responsibility and authority

An empowered team member or subordinate that’s been given responsibility will be able to make decisions around the work they’re doing. This cuts the time needed to finish a project or a task because they won’t have to second-guess their work.

Foster an environment and culture where people are empowered and are able to make decisions, and ask questions.

6. Check the work and provide feedback

While your team member works on a task, make sure to check them and the work you delegated before and when it’s complete. Check if they’ve done it correctly, and give them any feedback they need to improve when they handle a task moving forward.

7. Give acknowledgments and say thank you

Being a leader means being able to acknowledge what was done well in a project. Make sure to show genuine appreciation when someone completes a task.

Showing your team members that you appreciate them and provide the reason for it will inspire loyalty, real satisfaction for a job well done, and can be a basis for mentoring and performance reviews.

organizing tasks
Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels

Becoming a good delegative leader increases trust and commitment with your employees. This also improves productivity and overall satisfaction in the workplace.


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