Delegation doesn’t have to be scary. If done well, delegating is an indispensable tool for managers which allows more time to focus on big picture items. By not delegating, managers can even hinder their own advancement within the company. Here are the steps on how to delegate effectively:
Analyze current tasks
Start by analyzing your current workload and determine which tasks and/or projects you can delegate. As a manager, you should never delegate your personal responsibilities such as giving feedback, coaching, discipline or termination. These are inherent to the role! However, do think about tasks that can be transferred to someone more junior who is ready to take on new responsibilities.
Once you have deciphered what can be delegated, think about who would be the best person for the challenge. Ask yourself the following questions: who would be the most motivated by the opportunity?, who has expressed an interest for added responsibilities?, who has time to take on something new?, and lastly, who has a particular skill that needs to be developed? Delegation is a tactful decision and a wonderful training tool at your disposal.
Now that you have determined who you are delegating to, you must meet with him/her to go over all the details. This is a crucial stage as it is the moment when the transfer of knowledge takes place. First and foremost, explain why you are delegating the task to them. Let them know the reason and point out the benefits of taking on this added opportunity. Then, take the time to provide clear instructions of what needs to be done such as the action to take, the resources to use, the deadline to complete the tasks and the deliverable required. Detail exactly what the end result should be like. As a suggestion, have the employee send you an email summarizing their plan of action to ensure his/her understanding of the assignment.
Since this will be a new challenge for the employee, it is important to follow-up often as not to make him/her feel overwhelmed and alone. Schedule specific times, such as weekly or bi-weekly meetings, to discuss progression and address any areas of concerns. As a manager, you are there to coach and monitor your employee’s development. By doing so, your employee will be motivated and will gain confidence in his/her abilities and you will be able to guide them in the right direction if things go off track.
As a manager, it is easy to fall in the “it will be quicker to just get it done myself” mentality. Or, the “perfectionism” mentality whereby you don’t trust the outcome if a task is completed by someone else. A successful delegator accepts that the way of getting it done may be different, but it will get done well nonetheless with the proper instructions and guidance. Have confidence in the outcome and trust your employees!