Delegating tasks is an essential part of being a good manager.
It’s about more than dividing up your workload, delegation keeps your team challenged, helps them to build new skills and to feel like they’re having a greater impact on the business as a whole. While it can be initially difficult to relinquish control, it’s important to build trust within the team and contribute to the professional development of your employees.
Here’s how to delegate effectively:
Create a list of all the tasks carried out by your team currently and assess the strengths and weaknesses of the employees carrying out those tasks. This will help to assign specific projects based on the most suitable skills and attributes, rather than just who has the lightest workload. It’s also good to take stock of the current work commitments of your team both individually and as a group and see if there are ways you can be more efficient.
One common obstacle to delegating tasks is the attitude that it would be quicker or easier to just do it yourself. You need to invest the time and effort into educating your team on what needs to be done and communicating the required outcome. That means acknowledging that there will be delays in the early stages of the new process and predicting any difficulties you may encounter during the period of transition. Start small when it comes to handing things off. This way you’ll be more confident delegating tasks and employees will be more confident taking them on.
Discuss the benefits of taking on new projects or tasks with your team. If they are to assume more responsibility, they need to be able to see the value to them specifically, rather than just the department or company. Don’t oversell the rewards but consider if this new assignment will build the employee’s skills and experience, give them more autonomy over their work or allow them to affect the business direction.
You need to trust your colleagues to execute their tasks but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask how they are progressing or if they need any clarification on certain points. These processes are likely second nature to you but for someone taking them on initially they will require thorough instruction. It’s also important not to discount assigning tasks to someone because they don’t have the exact skill set. A lot of skills are learned on the job and so you should look to a person’s potential and enthusiasm for taking on the task too.