Some people have the mindset: “You need to do things on your own if you want something done right”. However, it’s more a matter of inexperience in selecting tasks to delegate among employees for others.
The best definition of delegating is when a manager assigns the right task to the right subordinate. Delegating tasks helps free up time so that managers can focus on more critical projects. Most managers think they are good at delegating when they’ve successfully assigned tasks to employees. However, delegating is not abdicating duty on someone’s desk. Real delegation is to care about the company’s goal and the employee’s development.
How to Effectively Delegate Tasks to Employees
Understand why delegation is hard
Knowing why you find delegating difficult is necessary before you can get better at delegating. Isn’t it logic to identify the obstacles before tackling them? Whatever the reason, effective delegation requires knowing when to step back to get a better idea of what’s stopping you from achieving your goal. It can just be you not feeling confident or trust anyone to deliver the result as perfect as you. Once you’ve figured out what the bottleneck is, you can start working on it by learning your staff’s strengths, improving communication and building trust.
Have patience with all things
You should be patient whenever you entrust tasks to your employees. It might even take longer to delegate tasks than to complete it yourself, but it’s just going to be for the first few times. Over time, your employees will take the task with ease, and you will find yourself saving so much time.
Choose the right person
Part of being a good manager understands the skills, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses of your employees. If you have a task that requires human skills, you’re not going to assign it to a technical person.
Choosing the right person for the task doesn’t always mean that you have to choose. Another option that managers can take is to consider letting their employees self-reflect the tasks they are confident to deliver most effectively. When people get to choose their delegated jobs, they get to build trust and engage better among their team. Or maybe in some cases, managers give a task to individual employees just to have an opportunity to develop and gain more experience from doing it.
Select appropriate tasks
Delegation is not dumping tasks you should be doing to someone else’s desk. It’s more to get those tasks you shouldn’t be doing off of yours. These are some of the workloads that managers can delegate to employees:
- Small tasks only need a small amount of time to complete but can be very abundant when adding up over time such as printing, scheduling appointments or booking flights.
- Teachable tasks are entirely teachable and do not require expertise that only you can provide.
- Terrible-at tasks are tasks that you don’t have the skills required.
Set up a tracking system
Establishing a tracking system is smart to keep everything under control when you assign the tasks to your team. You need to create a communication path between team members and you so that instructions and deadlines are more comfortable to reach.
By following this system, all managers monitor achieving the target and identifying and resolving bottlenecks. This is also an excellent method to understand your team from their capabilities to their personalities.
Provide coherent instructions
Several managers are unwilling to move the tasks to their staff because they don’t want to spend time instructing. This is true in some situations, but most of the time, delegating tasks properly will save time. When you assign the task, remember to give coherent instructions and appropriate requirements.
Some managers explain too many things and confuse their employees. Stephen Covey, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, suggests that you delegate results rather than methods. Just stick to your goals or milestones you expect to hit, communicate it to the employees and let them find ways in their way. As long as you get the results, that’s okay.
For instance, say “Our target is to obtain this. Here’s what we need to obtain at the end of this month,” instead of “Follow these steps.”
There must be a time when you were given a task but felt like you didn’t have the right to make any significant decision. As this happens, employees will need to take more time to ask for advice and validation, which takes so much more time.
Therefore, managers should give their employees the responsibility and authority to finish the task without stalling the work. Nurture a workplace environment where your subordinates can feel trusted, make decisions, and take the necessary steps to complete the tasks.
(Related: 4 Simple Ways to Run an Effective Meeting)
Begin with reasons
People tend to ignore things when they can’t understand them after a few attempts. Therefore, as a manager, you need to provide a convincing reason to inspire and motivate employees to pay more attention when working on a task given. For example, say “You need to do this because it will help us save more resources and complete task faster and more efficiently,” instead of “That’s what you need to do.”
Use feedback loops
Feedback plays an indispensable role in the delegation process, and it works both ways. If your employees fail to deliver good results, make sure they know where they did wrong and how they can improve it. As important as giving constructive feedback, showing your staff your genuine appreciation when they deliver good results will help them know what they should keep doing. Making a feedback loop is a good way for employees to improve when handling the task going forward.
Show genuine recognition and point out specific things they did right or well when your employees complete a task you delegated. Recognising the employees’ work and effort will help improve the team’s satisfaction for a job well done and form a foundation for performance evaluations. It can also be beneficial in encouraging loyalty among employees. New managers should keep this mentality: if the task was not done right, we all share the blame, so we should share the praise when we succeed.
Chief Executive Officer, OSDORO
Bachelor of Applied Finance and Bachelor of Laws, Sydney, Australia.
David has been in real estate business since 2002 and has a passion for South East Asian cross border cooperation.
As an entrepreneur, David has won multiple tech industry awards, including 2019 for Best AI Startup GITEX awards, 2019 Best AI Technology Accathon Capital USA and recipient of the Wharton Innovation Fund Grant. His last startup, Woveon, was a New York VC backed AI enterprise business intelligence company that worked on customer data stitching and analytics of billions of conversations.
David is also the recipient of state and national Australia technology prizes including the PWC Innovation Award and Intel Enterprise Technology awards.