Business owners and managers strive for efficiency and productivity. While some people often struggle to delegate tasks to other people, learning how to assign responsibilities to others can significantly improve everyone’s productivity and performance at work.
Task delegation is a management technique that aims to entrust people with different tasks and responsibilities in order to lighten the workload of others. However, task delegation is not just about giving out jobs and assignments to people. It still involves planning and strategizing to make sure that everyone is happy, content, satisfied, and productive in their work.
But how do you exactly practice task delegation properly? Here is a quick overview of the concept of task delegation and some tips on how you can start delegating tasks to your employees or team members.
Principles of Effective Task Delegation
Proper delegation is a skill that needs to be learned and mastered. Effective task delegation does not end with assigning tasks and passing responsibilities from one person to another. An important element of task delegation includes ensuring that the quality of work and experience continues to be positive. In order to do this, it’s important to understand the basics of task delegation and how the process of delegating tasks is supposed to work.
Many business owners or leaders mistake the concepts of task delegation and allocation. While both involve passing a task or responsibility to another person, allocation and delegation are two completely different management techniques.
Allocation vs Delegation
When a leader or manager allocates a task to an employee, they would typically provide a set of specific instructions and tell them to do the job as indicated. When done, the employee simply reports back to the leader awaiting corrections or revisions.
On the other hand, delegating tasks to an employee means that the leader is giving complete responsibility and authority over the assigned task. The employee receives a degree of authority and autonomy to move forward without the supervision or approval of the leader. However, this also entails great accountability for its outcome. When a leader delegates, they are supposedly hands-off and only provide minimal guidance and direction.
Levels of Accountability in Task Delegation
However, there are degrees of accountability and autonomy when it comes to task delegation. Delegative leaders have the prerogative to give as much or as little when delegating tasks. Generally, employees who are deemed capable and independent often get complete autonomy while those who are just starting out receive supervision and guidance as necessary.
There are generally four levels of accountability and autonomy in task delegation. The degree typically depends on the type of task allocated or the responsibility provided when an employee is delegated an important task or project.
The most basic level of autonomy in task delegation is often seen in research or administrative tasks. A leader may delegate research tasks and other legwork to an employee in order to get the job done. Once finished, the employee is to report back to the leader in order to move forward with the project at hand. This level of task delegation is much like allocation however, the employee has the freedom and flexibility to do the task on their own without specific and detailed instructions.
The next level of accountability and autonomy in the task delegation process involves decision-making. When a leader delegates a task, they can allow the employee to make certain decisions on how the project should be done. However, the leader should still approve any major changes that may affect the outcome of the project.
Aside from decision-making, a leader can provide employees empowered authority when delegating tasks. This form of autonomy and accountability allows employees to make decisions and changes as they see fit. The leader takes a step back and allows the employee to work on their own accord. However, regular updates and meetings are needed in order to ensure that the project is moving forward in the right direction.
Lastly, an experienced and capable employee may receive full autonomy when delegated a task. This high level of accountability entrusts the employee with all decision-making without the need for input or approval from the leader. Updated and check-ins may still be conducted periodically but the accountability for the outcome or results falls on the shoulders of the employee. Full autonomy is only suitable for employees who have a proven track record and are trusted to make the right decisions on their own.
The Proper Delegation Mindset
For good leaders to delegate work effectively, it’s important for them to have the proper mindset and perspective. It’s impossible to adopt a delegative leadership style without completely believing and trusting in its advantages and benefits. With that, here are some of the key factors you need to know to become a better delegative leader.
Develop a tolerance for failure and mistakes
One of the reasons why leaders do not delegate tasks is because of the fear that the job wouldn’t be done the way they intended to. But at the same time, employees carry the same fear of committing mistakes and ultimately failing to deliver.
In order to become a good leader, it’s important to develop a tolerance for failure and mistakes. Avoid punishing employees when things do not go a certain way. Instead, encourage them to be creative and innovative and consider these mistakes as a learning opportunity. Doing so can highly motivate employees.
Learn to be patient
A delegative leadership style believes in empowering employees. One of the benefits of task delegation is that it makes employees feel trusted. It also encourages employee engagement as it becomes an opportunity for them to learn, grow, and develop. However, many leaders lack the patience to wait for their employees to progress with each task. Patience is key in guiding your employees throughout their journey to become experienced and competent members of your team.
Understand the importance of value
Delegating tasks to employees is like investing in their potential and capabilities in the long run. When you are delegating tasks to your team members, you are investing your time and resources in their growth with the hope of improving their skills and developing their character. To become a good delegative leader, it’s crucial that you adopt and believe in the true sense of value that you are putting into your employees. It may take some more time and effort at the start but their growth and development in a few months’ time can significantly benefit you in the future.
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