5 ways you can delegate work more effectively

So you are now a manager. Congratulations! You love your work and it shows. But are you perhaps reluctant to let it go? It’s what you do best so why on earth would you give it to someone else? They may not do it as well as you. They may even mess it up. That does happen.

On the other hand, your unwillingness to delegate can add to your workload, lead to stagnation of skills in your team, act as a catalyst for high-staff turnover, demotivate others to perform to the level of their potential and hamper your career prospects. Pretty damning stuff!

Has it occurred to you, that delegation is one of the most important management tools at your disposal? Effective delegation can save you valuable time, help develop your team, motivate others to acquire new skills, increase productivity and help propel your career to the next level. Sounds great! Here are 5 tips to help you to delegate effectively every time.

1. define the task

Decide whether the task is one which can in fact be delegated. See the task with a fresh pair of eyes. Is it part of a larger task? Can it be broken down into smaller tasks? Are you assuming that the person knows certain things which make the task achievable? Have you defined them too? It can be quite surprising how much tacit knowledge is behind even the simplest of jobs.

2. provide the context or background

Great managers seek to get buy-in. They don’t solely rely on their authority to give ‘orders’. What is the importance of the task to the team and you? By appealing to a person’s self-interest, you help them to understand how performing this task well will benefit the people whom they care about. What can you say to align the execution of this task with their personal values and goals?

3. establish deadlines

By when must this task be completed? Has this task a final completion date? Is this an ‘ongoing’ task which requires regular ‘check-in’ dates? When do you expect to see a first draft? Is the timeline realistic given the individual’s current workload and commitments? There is nothing more demotivating than being given an impossible challenge.

4. check for understanding

Ask the individual to repeat their understanding of the task. It can be quite informative to listen to what you think you said and what the receiver thinks s/he heard. Establish whether the individual has any questions. Adults tend to be either visual, auditory or kinesthetic in terms of how they prefer to learn new information. Using diagrams, rephrasing your language or watching them perform and giving instant feedback may all help.

5. give feedback 

At regular individuals, let the person know how they are performing. If they are experiencing difficulties, or have failed to complete a task, ask them how they need help. This keeps ownership with them. Taking back the task is not in your interests or theirs. You are right back where you started and they feel they have failed. Remember, keeping the relationship with the person intact is far more important than the task itself.

Convinced? Great! But before you gallop off and assign work left, right and centre, consider that delegation isn’t about shifting the unpleasant things off your desk so you can deal with the nice bits. Delegation is intended to facilitate personal development as it empowers your people to seek and work towards promotion. By gaining experience and learning new skills, your people can assume greater responsibilities. And that will make your life a lot easier in the long run.

Leadership training that works for you:

Delegation forms part of my leadership training. In this module, you and your team will learn to use a straightforward and practical model for delegation. Together with case-studies and highly effective group role-plays we embed the learning and reflect upon its application to suit your workplace.

Author: Mark
Hi! Did you enjoy this content? I can help business such as yours to leverage the very best from your people through world-class training and coaching. Just call me on +44 7743 912 492.

related news items

how can I help you?

Please contact me now on +44 7743 912 492 for a thoughtful and helpful perspective. You can also request a call back using the form below.

Request a call back from me

Call me today! Just tell me what you want to talk about and we can set up a call! The menu on the right might give you some ideas. Something else you have on your mind? Great! Let’s talk!

I would like to discuss: