Delegation: 10 Tips to Help You Master This Essential Leadership Skill

Delegation is the act of assigning responsibility for activities to others. It sounds so simple yet you may struggle with the idea of giving up control. You fear that delegating will result in wasted time and poorly finished or incomplete tasks. You may even be scared that delegation may be perceived as a weakness and an inability to get your job done. Surprise! This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Delegation is an essential quality of leadership and is crucial to your success in business. It reduces the risk of burnout, gives you time to create and grow, boosts team morale, and perhaps most importantly of all, stops you from becoming a total control freak. Even with all these benefits, you may still find the idea of letting go somewhat difficult. Here are ten tips to make the whole process go more smoothly.

Analyse Your Needs
To get the most from delegating, you need to have a clear picture of everything you have going on. Kick things off by figuring out where you are spending time. This gives you a list of all of your activities, helps you to identify the biggest drains on your time and understand what can be delegated.

Decide How to Delegate
The way you delegate can vary considerably. Your approach will be largely determined by your specific business. Two of the most common methods is to hire a new team member or outsource to a freelancer. In either case, it’s important that you use a system that you trust and can adapt as your needs change.

Decide What to Delegate
If you’re brand new to delegating, it’s best to start with baby steps, perhaps with a small task or at least one that doesn’t have to be approached in a specific manner. It’s unwise and unfair to assign time-sensitive or critical tasks or, indeed, tasks that you are unwilling to do yourself.

Choose the Right Person
One of the key success factors when it comes to effective delegation is your ability to assign work to the right person. A good leader will understand the strengths and weaknesses of their team and will assign accordingly. Select someone you are confident in and the act of delegation becomes infinitely easier.

Offer Clear Communication
Being clear about your expectations from the outset is critical to ensuring that the work you delegate is done well. Offer clear communication about what you want, including what you need delivered and when. It can be helpful to put these requirements in writing and offer feedback when a task is submitted.

Avoid the Urge to Dominate
After you have delegated, it’s important that you trust that the task will be done. Unless the task must be completed in a certain way due to protocols, you must also afford the person flexibility and allow them to finish the task in their own way. By all means check in but avoid the urge to micromanage.

Be Patient
Delegating will reduce your workload but you will need to be patient in the beginning. Set aside time in your schedule and be prepared to answer numerous questions as people get used to your new level of trust in them. After a while, people will come to know what you expect and the work will flow faster.

Say Thank You
Basking in glory for a job well done is all well and good if you do the work yourself. However, if you have delegated the work to others, it’s important to give credit where it’s due. Be sure to say thank you to those whom you delegate to and share accolades or rewards for a project.

Take Advantage of Technology
Technology can make delegation run more smoothly and helps you overcome many different challenges. Whether implementing online training or using file sharing software such as Google Drive, technology can help to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

Don’t Delegate Too Much
Remember that delegation is not shifting the responsibility for work you should be doing onto someone else. Rather, it’s about identifying the tasks you shouldn’t be doing and assigning them to the right person. This article from Adelaide Lancaster at The Muse can help you understand the difference.

Remember that delegation is often a shared task, especially when just getting started. Over time, you will realise more and more of the benefits and get better and faster results.

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