Effective delegation can be a difficult skill to master. Many leaders are hesitant to give up control, concerned that others may not do the task as well, or fear that it will take more time to explain and guide someone else than if they did it themselves. However, this can quickly lead to burnout and spending more time at the office than necessary. Overwhelming yourself with assignments that others are capable of doing can be counterproductive. Learning how to delegate responsibilities can help you to feel less stressed, enhance employee satisfaction, promote professional development, and increase overall productivity.
When considering opportunities to delegate, consider the following:
Prioritize tasks. Know which elements must be completed first and which are less time sensitive. If you are assigning a new task to someone with less experience, ensure that there is enough time to make revisions before it is due. By dividing up responsibilities, you can focus on those tasks that only you can do while others handle less critical assignments or ones that align well with their abilities.
Give clear directions. There is a fine line here. You don’t want to be too explicit and stifle the person from applying their own skills and critical thinking, but you also don’t want to be so vague that they are unsure of what is expected. Find a happy medium where they understand what the final product should be and can implement a plan to get there.
Set milestones and deadlines. This will help to keep everyone on task and prevent you from micromanaging. Each person should know what key targets they should hit and when so that you are not continually asking how things are going or checking in on their progress. During meetings everyone can give a quick update as to where they are and you can monitor the overall progress of the project.
Recognize individual strengths and interests. In delegating tasks, assign them to those who have the skills and background to complete them and also to those looking for opportunities to grow. Make sure to provide them with the resources and training necessary to be successful. While you can be available to help problem solve if they get stuck on something, avoid doing the work for them, as this defeats the purpose of delegating. Giving employees more accountability and authority can enhance their job satisfaction and professional growth.
Accept that there is more than one way to complete a task. Be flexible and open-minded. Just because someone does not approach a project the same way that you would does not mean they are incorrect. Did they reach the same end result while meeting requirements? It can be difficult for leaders to give up this control and desire to do it their way, but in doing so they allow others to flex their skills and be successful.
Knowing how and when to delegate can maximize efficiency and productivity. It takes some of the strain off of leaders to do everything and capitalizes on the strengths of the team. If you are looking to achieve better balance and refine your delegation skills, contact JP Kantor Consulting today. Through our diverse range of services, our professional staff can help you to become a stronger leader and create a more positive culture where employees feel valued and projects are completed more efficiently.