How Effective Leaders Supercharge Their Team By Delegating Tasks
Delegating tasks sounds easy — and others who can do it well make it look easy — but passing the baton effectively requires a lot of trust, communication, and coordination. Still, if you learn how effective leaders supercharge their team by delegating tasks, you get more chance to stand tall and everyone on your team eventually wins.
If you want to help your team members reach their goals, and provide more value to your company, it’s essential to learn to delegate like effective leaders.
Knowing how to delegate tasks effectively is a necessary step for growth — it’s important for efficiency and professional development. If others on your team can’t embrace new skills, you won’t be able to strengthen your leadership and make people trust you as a decision maker.
Delegating tasks is a great way to ensure that more works get done in less time.
By dividing up the workload and giving authority to someone, delegation keeps your team challenged and supercharged, helps them attain new skills and has a positive impact on the business as a whole. That’s you need to learn how to delegate effectively by planning their list of tasks, assigning it to the right individuals and fostering responsibility and ownership.
No leader or manager in the workplace can do every task on their own.
By delegating the responsibility of tasks to the members of your team, you can also focus on the most strategic part and train future leaders at the same time. Since many hands help to lighten the burden, leaders can consequently accomplish priorities through others.
So, let’s take a look at some tips to help you learn how to effectively delegate tasks and become a better leader.
No matter what, time keeps ticking, and you can’t do everything on your own. So, if you are uncomfortable delegating, or feel that you can’t let go of responsibilities, I hope by the end of this article, that you can approach the topic differently, and delegate effectively.
Set Clear Expectations
You can’t assume that your team or employee is going to be able to read your mind. Effective delegation is not an email that says, “Here — take care of this for me, will you?”
Delegating a task isn’t as simple as stating ‘Sally, please do this, thanks’.
You have to accept that the first few times you delegate a task, that it will inevitably end up taking them longer than just doing it yourself (since you’ll need to train them, answer questions, and the like), so you should consider this delegation as an investment. By transferring your skills, you will be ultimately saving more time than you spent teaching.
When dividing assignments it pays off to set aside some time to discuss the task.
For major tasks share the big picture of what you are trying to accomplish and why the task is important. For simple tasks mention how the delegated work feeds into and supports other priorities. Give also a clear description of what the final result should look like. This acts as a roadmap to guide staff as they execute the assigned task.
Tell employees your goals or the milestones you hope to hit and let them tackle the problem in their own way.
Don’t look for perfection or micromanage; someone else might complete a task differently than you would. As long as you get the result you’re looking for, that’s okay. Knowing how to delegate effectively means striking a balance between allowing employees leeway to develop new skills and monitoring work to ensure quality. Every good delegator provides basic and important information without micromanaging.
Take the time and develop the discipline to map out exactly what you’re asking for.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Explain how the task fits within a larger project and mission. Give it a sense of higher-level purpose. You can even communicate the implications of missing the deadline and how it will affect other team members.
You want to make sure your employee understands what they need to do to get started.
Remember that it’s ok for them to have more questions along the way. They call it a delegation process for a reason; it isn’t just a hand-off, it is a process that you work through together through the mission. If you hover, you run the risk of micro-managing the project which defeats the purpose of delegating it. If you ignore them until they complete the mission, you may miss out on a critical opportunity during the process to provide redirection or feedback.
Pick The Right People
Part of being a good leader is understanding your employees’ strengths, weaknesses, and preferences. If you need to delegate a task that is going to require a lot of collaboration to complete, don’t delegate it to someone who very strongly prefers working alone.
Whatever you delegate, match the person to the job.
One of the great time wasters in the world of work is delegating the task to the wrong person. Often the task is delegated to a person who is not capable of doing it properly or getting it done on schedule. The rule is that you never delegate an important task to a person who has not performed that task satisfactorily in the past. It is unfair to expect a person who has not done a job before to perform at a sufficient level of quality when they are given the job for the first time.
Delegating starts by studying the strengths of your employees.
Otherwise, how will you know, which employee will cope with the delegated tasks the best? You should also consider their current workload and will you delegating this work to them, mean they will need to reshuffle their own workload or responsibilities? Just as importantly, what is this person’s longer term goals and career aspirations?
Even within your department, your coworkers all have unique skillsets, unique preferences, and unique talents.
Making good use of those unique working personalities will result in more overall efficiency. Sometimes, it’s clear which task should go to which intern because this is a cut-and-dry example. Most of your tasks won’t align themselves as conveniently, but the principle is still the same. If you aren’t sure who to delegate the task to, present the task to a group of your coworkers, and openly ask who might be the best to handle it.
Experienced leaders match the level of responsibility with an employee’s expertise.
They know their team members and understand their preferences. When team members are assigned tasks they’re interested in, they are sure to perform better than expected. In addition, once you’ve identified tasks that can be transferred to your team, you need to consider who the best person is to take them on. Make sure that the individual you pick has the skills needed to tackle the task, and that it’s not too easy for them.
Set The Clock Ticking
Timelines keep people focused, and hold all members of the group accountable. This is especially useful for tasks that don’t have a strict deadline, or complicated tasks that will encounter several milestones before being completed. Work together with your coworker to establish a mutually agreed-upon timeline, from the beginning of the task’s delegation to its final execution.
Decide with your team and put aside some time every week to check the progress of your team.
Talk to them about the problems they are facing while completing the given task and suggestions on how they can proceed. The deadline should be realistic and the employee should under normal circumstances be able to complete the task within the time-frame provided. If it is a long-term project or a large assignment, break it down into milestones each with its own mini-deadline.
To learn how to delegate is to build a cohesive and effective team that can meet deadlines.
Your employees should be completely responsible and committed to getting the expected results and their overall goals are aligned to yours. Building a culture of accountability in your team starts with including team members in objective setting meetings. You can work together to decide what the milestones for a task are. After reaching each of them, they can check if the performance matches the expectations that were outlined. Keeping everyone’s understanding of the task aligned from start to finish is key.
Some leaders are uncomfortable with setting deadlines because they feel that it puts pressure on their team members.
However, without deadlines, work has a tendency to be delayed and takes longer. If your team member feels under pressure to complete the work, negotiate the timeline with them. Alternatively, you could get others to help with the work, or provide more coaching and support to ensure they meet the deadline.
That said, always ensure that the deadlines you set are realistic.
They must be realistic and doable time-wise, and they must be realistic and doable for the people whom you select for the task. Obviously, your delegation must involve choosing the right people for the right tasks insofar as their talents and skills go, but you must also ensure from the outset that the people you delegate tasks to won’t have scheduling problems or conflicts.
Mentor & Coach
Lack of trust is delegation’s worst enemy. With the proper training and coaching, your people can take on more complex tasks. Resist telling yourself you’re the only one who can do things right; or that it will take too long to train someone to do something. The initial time investment will be paid off many times over.
It’s not enough to assign a task to a team member.
You need to give people full authority over the work so they feel engaged to complete it successfully. You also have to make sure that when you transfer a task, the assigned person has taken complete responsibility for it. Foster an environment and culture where people feel they’re able to make decisions, ask questions, and take the necessary steps to complete the work.
The goal of delegating is to engage the follower so they can develop to the next level.
Sometimes the leader still needs to focus on tasks, which can require significant commitment of time, but the focus can now expand to the developing relationship with the employee, building on the trust that has begun to develop and the encouragement that has been demonstrated. There is less “telling” and more “suggesting,” which leads to more encouragement, acting as a coach. The recognition that they have progressed motivates them to progress even further.
Remember, you are only as strong as your weakest team member.
If you are not able to rely upon another individual, it’s time to evaluate and make a change. By delegating tasks, you train your team members to be future managers and effective leaders. Teach them and be a proper mentor. Even if they mess up, don’t belittle them and offer constructive criticism so that they can improve in the future.
As a leader, you should remember that there’s a learning curve about every job that exists.
You’re learning to become a better leader right now. So, be a patient mentor to your employees as well. Delegating tasks is often about trusting the potential of an employee rather than the skills they have. By delegating a task, you allow an employee to grow professionally and teach them new skills. But you should also be prepared to teach them these new skills.
Employees always appreciate genuine acknowledgment that their work is well-received and that they’ve done a good job. Be specific with them on what they did really well — that reinforces positive behavior and also establishes trust between you and your employee.
There’s nothing worse than a manager who delegates something to an employee and then blames the employee when something goes wrong.
Don’t be that manager. Check the work you delegated to your employees when it’s complete, make sure they did it correctly, and give them any feedback needed to improve when handling the task going forward. When someone completes a task or project you delegated, show genuine appreciation and point out specific things they did right or well.
Use follow-up tasks to keep your workers on point.
Following up occasionally, especially for long-term tasks, gives you insight into progress, and gives your employee the opportunity to bring up any questions or obstacles that have arisen in the process. Set reminders for yourself to follow up occasionally and ensure the task’s timely, effective completion.
When delegated work is delivered back to you, set aside enough time to review it thoroughly.
If the delegated task isn’t quality, completed work, coach and develop the employee to produce a satisfactory work product. If you accept work you’re not satisfied with, you miss out on an opportunity to teach them how to do the job properly. And you, as the leader, can become overloaded with work. When good work is turned in, recognize and reward the effort. This helps build self-confidence and efficiency, both of which will be improved on the next delegated task.
A feedback loop is absolutely vital.
When you get great results, get in the practice of complimenting them. This effort will go a long way toward building team member’s self-confidence and efficiency, both of which will be improved on the next delegated task. As equally important, if your expectations are not met, you need to find out why this happened, give them constructive criticism, and ensure they understand your expectations for future tasks.
At some point in every professional’s career there comes a time to delegate tasks. And as a leader, delegating is important because you can’t — and shouldn’t — do everything yourself. Delegating empowers your team, builds trust, and assists with professional development.
Some professionals fear delegation because it means relying on an outside party to execute quality work.
But if you surround yourself with reliable workers, you’ll never have to worry about things being done right. Delegating effectively is an important skill to develop, especially as you move up the corporate ladder, so the sooner you start putting it into practice, the better.
Delegation exists so you don’t have to waste hours on tasks that someone else can do better.
Regardless of your skills or experience, trying to do everything by yourself will burn you out in no time. Delegation is being able to utilize the individual talents of everyone in your team. When done right, your productivity will increase, and task management will be way less troublesome.
Delegation improves efficiency when it allows work to be transferred to people whose skills are a strong match for the work.
When done effectively, delegation is an incredibly powerful way for leaders and those in authority to claim back their time, and be more effective. More than that, it actually trains others in new skills, and motivates the team to new heights.
So don’t be afraid to pass the baton. It might take some practice to become a great delegator, but if you work at it, you’ll all go further.
Learning how to delegate effectively is the key to leveraging yourself and multiplying your value to your company. Delegation allows you to move from what you can do personally to what you can manage. Do you have any tips for successful delegation that we didn’t mention here? Let me know in the comments.
Digital Dandy. Hacker From Heart. Workaholic. Coding Artist. Self-made.