Delegation is when you assign work to other team members because it is more appropriate for their work streams and priorities. If you're new to managing a team or project, delegating work can be intimidating. No problem if you don't know exactly what to delegate and how. In this article, we show you when to delegate work and give you 10 tips to help you delegate work effectively.
Sometimes the most valuable thing you can do as a manager is to delegate work. Delegating work not only gives you more time to focus on high-impact tasks, it also gives team members a chance to get involved in interesting projects.
But it can be daunting for new managers to know what to delegate and how. Delegation is a leadership skill that you can develop over time. In this article, we will walk you through 10 tips to help you become a better delegate.
What is a delegation?
Delegation is the act of redirecting tasks and initiatives to other team members. You may delegate work to spread responsibility more evenly, or because a task or initiative is more relevant to another team member's priorities, skills, or interests.
Knowing when and how to delegate makes you a better manager. Delegation not only helps you get work done with high impact, it also allows team members to get involved in interesting projects. Effective delegation builds team skills and allows team members to develop new strengths.
Create a prioritization matrix template
Why is delegation important?
Delegating work is important for two main reasons: maximizing personal productivity and showing your team that you trust them with important work. The whole is more powerful than the individual – by effectively delegating tasks together as a team, you can achieve more than alone.
Effective delegation also helps preventburn outIfatigue. It is not your job to do all the work. Instead, as a manager, you are responsible for seeing the big picture and delegating the right tasks to the right people. Building delegation skills is about understanding the desired outcomes of a given initiative andassignment of workdifferent team members based on their different skills.
Knowing when to delegate responsibilities to other team members is a great way to become a more effective leader. This important leadership skill offers important development opportunities for your team members. Depending on the type of tasks you delegate, delegation can help you build new team skills and monitor progressprofessional development plans.Read: Management vs Management: What's the Difference?
What prevents people from delegating tasks
Knowing what to delegate can be difficult, especially if you are a personfirst manager. Some people find it difficult to delegate tasks because:
You worry that explaining how to do a job will take more time than doing it yourself
I don't understand the prioritization of the work
You will work on interesting projects yourself
Feel guilty about assigning more work to other people
I'm not sure who else can do this job
You will feel important to your team
When to delegate work
There is no single scenario when you have to delegate work. But in general, ask yourself a few questions to determine if outsourcing this work is worthwhile.
Questions to ask before delegating tasks:
Is this job more in line with another team member's priorities?
Does anyone else have the information and context to do this job?
Is this job an opportunity for someone to develop and improve their skills?
Will this work be repeated in the future?
Do I have time to effectively delegate this work, including training the other person, answering their questions, and reviewing their work?
Is this something I should personally work on (because it's very impactful or business critical)?
Will failure affect the success of the project?
Do we have time to redo the work if the need arises?
You don't have to answer "yes" to all of these questions to delegate work. But asking yourself these questions before delegating work will help you choose the best job to delegate.
10 tips on how to delegate work
Learning how to delegate work will make you a better manager and allow your team members to get involved in exciting projects. Try these 10 tips to start the delegation process:
1. Identify the work you want to delegate
Not everything can be delegated. Some jobs are strategic or business and may use your personal attention. Before you start delegating work, you need to assess the importance of the work and the consequences of delegating it.
That doesn't mean you can't delegate important tasks. If there is another team member who has the context, experience or skills to do the job successfully, delegating to them can be a good option. However, remember that it is still your responsibility to achieve a good end result.
A good job to delegate includes:
Works that will be repeated in the future:If you have a repetitive task, it's often a good idea to outsource it to someone else who has the time and energy to get the job done right.
Work in line with a team member's interests:If a team member has expressed an interest in developing a new skill or improving an existing one, see if there is any work you can delegate to help them develop those skills.
Work that aligns with team members' goals:One of the best ways to delegate is to assign tasks that align with a team member's professional goals.
2. Practice letting go
Delegation can be difficult for budding leaders and managers because you are putting important work in the hands of others. You feel securely connected to your work and responsible for its good performance.
Learning to delegate is a key skill, but you shouldn't feel uncomfortable every time you delegate. Instead, practice assigning smaller tasks first before tackling larger projects. Be patient – both with yourself and with your team members. Building delegation skills will take time. Similarly, team members may take longer to complete this work than you. But by delegating work, you allow team members to develop their skills over time, and you also take away another thing.
3. Clarify priorities
Understanding the priority and difficulty of tasks makes delegation easier. If something is a high priority, it needs to be done soon, either by you or by someone else. Depending on the type of work, you can then decide to do it yourself or outsource.
The best way to make your priorities clear is to align your work with team and company goals. When you and your team are clear about why your work is important, it's easier to effectively prioritize and complete high-impact tasks. If you haven't already, do so by putting all of your team's work into a common source of truth, such as a project management tool. That way, everyone has a direct overview of who, what, when and why is doing what.
Create a priority matrix template
4. Understand the strengths of each team member
Part of delegating is making sure the person you're delegating to is set up for success. Effective delegation consists of two elements: delegate work to team members who are skilled in that area, and provide opportunities for team members to develop new skills.
To do this, make sure you have a good understanding of each team member's strengths as well as their interests. Spend some time on the next one1:1 meetingask them which skills they currently have and which they want to develop further, and which skills they want to develop and which they don't currently have.Read: The difference between hard skills and soft skills: Examples from 14 members of the Asana team
5. Provide context and directions
When submitting a job, make sure the person taking on the task is prepared for success. This includes:
Tips on how to do the job
The due date of the delegated task
Background, documents and job details
Tools needed to get the job done
Priority, goals and expectations for the work
Any related work
Keep in mind that this work may be easy for you to do, but it may be completely new to the person you are delegating this work to. Take the time to walk them through the task and answer any questions they have before they begin to ensure they are set up for success.
6. Invest in training
There may be work that no one on your team will be able to do but you. Some managers believe that this means they cannot delegate work. But depending on priorities, it's often better to train team members on how to do the job so they can continue to complete those tasks.
Training takes time, so it's tempting to do it yourself. But think of training as an investment in your team members and your own workload. Over time, you will get back the time you spent on training because the person will be able to do the job. Delegating time-consuming tasks is a great way to build your owntime management skillsat the same time as the team members get new opportunities.
Part of training someone else to do the job is giving them spacesolve problemsinstead of immediately providing a solution. If a team member encounters an obstacle on the job, ask questions to find out how they think they can overcome that obstacle. Instead of giving solutions, try asking the other person for suggestions to help build their own decision-making skills and guide them to the right answer.
7. Prioritize communication and feedback
Delegating work is a really good optiontwo-way feedback and communication. Make sure the person you are delegating to can contact you with any questions, and schedule regular meetings, such as 1:1 meetings, where you can go over things in more detail.
Provide feedback on their work for any future assignments you send them. Also ask them for their feedback - did you give them enough information to be successful? Were there any open questions that would make the job easier? Remember, delegation is a long-term skill that you're just starting to build, so getting feedback will help set you up for long-term success.Read: How to give and receive constructive criticism
8. Focus on results
When you delegate work, the goal is not for the team member to do it exactly as you wanted. There is nothing wrong with someone doing something differently than you if they achieve the intended results.
When delegating and training team members on the job, avoid spending too much time explaining how things need to be done. Instead, focus on the end goal and give the team member room to develop their own workflow. It gives them room to develop their own skills and also shows that you give them responsibility for finding a way to get the job done.
9. Trust, but verify
After delegating work, try to step back and give the team member the space they need to get the job done. Meet with them periodically to make sure they don't need additional support while leaving enough leeway to show your team you trust them.
Ultimately, however, you are responsible for the success of the work. If you are delegating this type of work for the first time, establish a review cycle or follow-up period to review the work done and push it in the right direction if necessary.
10. Show appreciation after the work is done
Effective delegation of work gives other team members a chance to develop new skills and get involved in important projects. When the job is done, make sure the team member who did it is credited for completing the job.
Other members of the cross-functional team may praise you for the work you have done, especially if you have done it in the past. Make sure you don't take credit for other people's work and take the time to recognize your team member for a job well done.
Delegated and done
Delegating work is a great way not only to build personal management skills, but also to support the professional development of the entire team. To ensure the success of your colleagues, make sure they have all the information they need to properly complete the delegated task.
If you haven't already, do it with oneproject management tool. A shared source of truth, such as a project management tool, gives team members greater visibility and unfettered access to the context they need to do their jobs well.
Create a prioritization matrix template
Share how you determine who you choose to delegate tasks to. After you share your strength in delegating, you can talk about your process of how you do it. You can share how you consider all the tasks you have and compare them with the skill set of your team members.How do you delegate effectively 10 tips for managers? ›
- Decide what to delegate. ...
- Create a framework for clear communication. ...
- Know your team's strengths. ...
- Create priorities. ...
- Offer context and background. ...
- Provide support where it's needed. ...
- Prioritize results over the process. ...
- Focus on autonomy but check-in.
- Carefully choose the right person for the job. ...
- Focus on the goal. ...
- Be open to new ideas. ...
- Empower your team to make decision. ...
- Maintain a system of check. ...
- Motivate your team. ...
- Train future leaders. ...
- Learn to say 'Thank you'
- Clarify the Task(s) You Want to Delegate. ...
- Choose the Right Delegate for the Task. ...
- Communicate Thoroughly. ...
- Make Sure Your Delegate Has Necessary Authority. ...
- Give Praise and Feedback as You Go.
Share how you determine who you choose to delegate tasks to. After you share your strength in delegating, you can talk about your process of how you do it. You can share how you consider all the tasks you have and compare them with the skill set of your team members.What is 10 level of delegation? ›
Level 10 is the highest level typically (and rarely) found in organisations. 1 "Wait to be told." or "Do exactly what I say." or "Follow these instructions precisely." This is instruction. There is no delegated freedom at all.What would be the best example of delegation? ›
You can give one of your employees the power to make certain decisions so that you can focus on other work. For example, as a marketing director, you could delegate authority to the assistant marketing director to hire employees for the department when needed.What are the 3 elements of delegation? ›
There are three elements of Delegation: responsibility being assigned, authority being granted, and accountability being created.What makes a good delegate? ›
* 'Someone who is confident, or if you are slightly shy, someone who gains confidence through the conference by giving it a go. ' * 'My top 5 words to describe a good delegate are “prepared”, “confident”, “respectful”, “motivated” and “knowledgeable”. 'What are the tips of appropriate delegation in nursing? ›
- Right circumstance. Don't delegate when the patient is not stable.
- Right person. Ensure the person has the right skills and training to handle the task.
- Right direction and communication. ...
- Right supervision and evaluation.