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How to Delegate Effectively

Even if you have great time management skills, there’s always room for improvement. Delegate effectively with these effective tips.

The Art of Being Able to Delegate Effectively

For the lucky few, knowing how to delegate effectively – even at all - comes easily, maybe too easy. For others who are perfectionists, letting go of even the most trivial job is almost a Herculean task. If you are in this second category, you probably don’t like the references behind your back that you are a control freak or a micro-manager.

You can't do everything yourself. And the bigger your job function grows, the truer this becomes. That's why it's so essential to master the art of knowing how to delegate effectively.

Delegating your day-to-day work frees you up to think big, reach out to clients, nail down new sources of revenue, and do the things that only you can do. As a bonus, the delegation gives those being delegated the hands-on experience they need to develop a broader range of skills, ensuring that they will be ready to grow along with the company. This in turn builds trust, spurs employee engagement, and improves the health of your organisation.

Change Your Perceptions

So, it’s a win-win all round. Why then do so many have problems letting go? It’s all in the perception of the act of delegation. We tend to delegate tasks. It’s the exception - or maybe better stated, the exceptional - manager that delegates responsibility.

Delegating tasks is (admittedly) easier. There’s always work lying around that needs doing, and when a few steps along the pathway to accomplishing a goal can be handed off to a trusted colleague, managers jump on the opportunity. In that moment it’s far harder to carefully think through the total requirement and to delegate the entire responsibility for a project or outcome to a subordinate. But by delegating broader responsibilities instead of constantly dealing with the back and forth of task delegation, you also free up more of your own valuable time.

So how do you go about changing your attitude to delegation?

Preparation is Key

Employees can’t deliver quality results if the task delegated to them isn’t fully thought through, or if your expectations keep changing. Take the time and develop the discipline to map out precisely what you’re asking for. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Be very clear about both the assignment and the expected outcome – but don’t tell your people exactly how to do their assigned tasks. Instead, describe the goal and then let them find the best approach. By allowing your team to work in the way they believe most effective, you will increase their creativity and initiative while boosting their self-esteem.

Leave Your Ego at Home

Just because an employee does things differently doesn’t mean he or she won’t do the job right or as well. If you establish expectations of the goal and the standards to follow, then how they work shouldn’t be an issue. An important and often overlooked part of delegation is that it helps develop employees for advancement and creates a better work environment.

Provide Context

This comes back to delegating responsibilities, not tasks. No work you give out exists in isolation, it is undoubtedly part of a wide project objective. Share those objectives, so that your employee can gain a better understanding of their part in the wider goals.

Don’t Just Walk Away

Obviously, you have to allow the employee to do the work, but check in periodically on progress. Don’t look over their shoulder or watch their every move. But when you outline the expectations in the beginning, make sure you build in checkpoints for follow-up.

And Don’t Just Delegate the Stuff You’re Not Interested in

Avoid monopolising all of the interesting tasks and delegating the menial ones to others. If you routinely delegate only the boring, repetitive assignments, you will decrease the job satisfaction and quality output of other staff members while increasing their stress levels. Share the good, the bad, and the ugly with others in a balanced way based on the tips above.


By following these delegation guidelines, you will be able to decrease your workload, increase time management and personal productivity, and develop your staff to help them reach their full potential.



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