How to Delegate Effectively

How to Delegate Effectively

Are you a team leader or manager and want to learn how to delegate effectively?

If yes, then you’ve come to the right place.

Perhaps you are a hard worker and love to roll up your sleeves and get the job done.

That is very impressive to be sure.

However, it is still important that you delegate and know how to do it effectively.

When climbing the ladder to leadership positions in your business or organization, it might be hard at first to stop doing it all and start leading.

This is so because you are probably used to executing tasks by yourself and always getting the results you wanted this way.

At first, you might experience success with this, and your team might even applaud you for your hard work and dedication.

However, with time, you will soon find that, if you are going to be an effective leader, there is just so much you can do on your own 

There might be increased demands and fewer resources, which would necessitate you delegating more tasks to others.

There is usually a reluctance to delegate on the part of some business leaders for obvious reasons.

One of them is the fear that the other person given the responsibility will not meet the requirements especially in the area of quality of work done.

In such a situation, delegating assignments to others might seem a difficult decision to make.

If you find yourself thinking like this sometimes, then it shows you are particular about excellent work and deserve to be applauded.

However, in this article, you will see why delegating to others is important.

You will also see how to overcome your fears and know how to delegate effectively and still get your desired results.

How to Delegate Effectively – What Does it Mean to Delegate?

To delegate in the context of work and business setup means assigning tasks or responsibilities to another person.

Usually, this is done by someone who is in a more superior position to the one who has been delegated to handle the tasks.

At other times though, employees can also delegate responsibilities to their colleagues by mutual agreement if these would help the team’s productivity.

But the focus of this article is the delegation of assignments, responsibilities, and authority by leaders/managers to their subordinates.

Delegating tasks to others is often necessitated by having a lot of responsibilities and relieving yourself of some.

Additionally, when you delegate to others at work, it also provides an opportunity to train them and help their personal development.

For these reasons, every top businessman and woman knows the importance of delegating and never takes it for granted.

While it is true that there are usually concerns and reservations when it comes to delegating to others, these concerns can be effectively handled.

With the right strategies and principles, you can confidently delegate tasks to others and get good results.

Now, let us look at some of the benefits that come from delegating to others so that you as a business owner or manager will see reasons to imbibe that culture.

How to Delegate Effectively – Why Is It Important to Delegate?

As a leader, many qualities and actions make for effective leadership in your organization.

You might think of skillful knowledge of the business, integrity, good communication, strategic thinking, and innovation.

These qualities are all very important if you want to be an effective leader; one who others look up to and who gets results.

However, there is also one thing that can make your work easier and faster as a leader, and also help your subordinates grow.

And that is delegation.

Every successful business owner or one who wants to be a success in his/her business area must learn this.

Here are some of the benefits of delegating duties, assignments, tasks, and responsibilities to others:

It Lightens Your Workload 

This is one of the obvious benefits that come with delegating tasks to others in your organization.

As a leader; maybe a supervisor or manager, there is a limit to what you can do on your own.

Regardless of how much you love to work and appreciate getting things done yourself, it is unrealistic.

Especially when you have a lot of important tasks or projects lined up with deadlines should you delegate to others.

Giving others the privilege and opportunity of doing some of these things can lighten your workload and get them off your desk.

That way, you do not suffer burnout due to overworking yourself or going through too much stress.

You can only imagine a host of other things you can accomplish if you can share some of your workload with other efficient and trusted employees.

Delegation Empowers Your Team

There is a temptation on the part of some leaders to want to micromanage employees or take full control of all activities in the workplace.

From experience, this is not as effective as granting a certain level of autonomy to employees, especially the ones who have shown that they deserve this.

Providing your employees with control and autonomy in their day-to-day activities in the workplace is what team empowerment is all about.

And one way of doing this is by delegating tasks and responsibilities to members of your team.

A lot of employees admit that one of the things they consider when deciding whether or not to remain with an organization is empowerment.

The best employees are not satisfied with just being around the workplace, doing their work, and getting paid.

They want to feel empowered, and one way you can do this is by effectively delegating tasks to them and giving them added responsibilities.

It Builds Trust 

Trust is the foundation upon which good employer-employees relationships are built in the workplace.

That is the way it is with every enduring relationship; there must be mutual trust from all parties involved.

One way to build trust in your team as a leader is by delegating to others.

A leader who always wants to take on tasks and projects all by himself might come off as a “know-it-all” to others.

Employees see that leader as lacking trust and belief in them, believing that he alone is capable of executing tasks successfully.

In such situations, the employees feel that there is no trust in them, and that can sever the relationship they have with you as the employer.

It Aids Employee Training and Development 

Another benefit of learning how to delegate effectively as an employer or leader is that it helps in developing your employees.

Gaining hands-on experience has always proven to be one of the most effective ways of learning new skills and developing an existing one.

In light of that, if you have employees whose growth seems to be stagnated after a long period, the problem might be that they are not being exposed to more responsibilities.

When you delegate, on the other hand, you are exposing your employees to broader knowledge and more information.

While carrying out those tasks, they gain new skills in the process, which put them in line for more responsibilities.

Delegating Prepares Employees for More Responsibilities 

As your business establishment continues to grow and other changes occur, there would be a need for expansion and promotions.

One of the best methods of promotion in an organization is promoting from within.

That means instead of sourcing for candidates outside to take up leadership or managerial position, you simply step up others.

However, for a seamless transition for these, they need to have a vast knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of the position.

How better to prepare them for this than give them a feel of what those responsibilities are even before they get there?

When you delegate effectively to others, you are putting them in line for stepping up and taking up top management positions when the time is right.

Effective Delegation Increases Productivity 

Do you recall when you first started with your business organization, probably when you were the only one running the business?

How was the experience at that time?

Imagine having to do everything by yourself.

You were the CEO, the manager, the customer care representative, the sales executive, the accountant, social media manager, content creator e.t.c.

No doubt there were certain aspects of the business that suffered because of this.

It is not hard to see why that is so, as there is a limit to what one person can do on his/her own.

But when your business started to grow and expand, and you have the means of adding more experienced manpower, how did it feel?

No doubt, you got more productive as you can share this load of responsibilities among more capable hands.

That is one other benefit that comes with delegating effectively.

When the tasks and responsibilities go round, there is better efficiency in carrying them out.

And certainly, the results by way of output that you get with this will far surpass what you get when you do it all alone.

It Helps You Assess the “Strengths” of Your Employees 

As early mentioned, you cannot do everything yourself, and even if you wanted to, some conditions might make it difficult.

Perhaps for some reason, you are not available to perform some of your tasks and need someone on the team to step in.

How do you know who is capable of executing these tasks or carrying out the projects?

Taking a wide guess at the last minute might set the project up for failure and cost your business.

Think about how easy it would be to make this decision if you already know the strengths of your employees.

When you delegate, you can assess the strengths of your team members and know their qualities and abilities.

Hence, when there is a need for one of them to step up or step in and perform a task, you already know who to count on.

How to Delegate Effectively – The Process 

For some reason, some managers or leaders hold back from delegating duties and responsibilities to others.

One of these reasons is that they might be so attached to their responsibilities and feel that delegating is letting go of such responsibilities.

Some also feel that they are best suited for those duties and do not trust that another person will do it effectively.

For other leaders, there is a feeling that the process of delegation is a rather long one, and it would be faster to do the job themselves.

And it could also be that you have delegated tasks in the past and did not get satisfactory results.

All these might make you hesitate to delegate.

However, given how important delegation is, it is best to figure out how to deal with those fears and overcome them.

Therefore, here are some of the practical steps you can follow to delegate effectively:

Decide Which Tasks Need Delegating 

The first step to effective delegation is knowing which tasks to delegate and when delegating tasks is needed.

That means it is not every responsibility you have that you can delegate to others.

How then do you know what to delegate and when to do this?

Different principles can guide you when deciding on which tasks to delegate to others.

One of these is to look at tasks or jobs that are little but can quickly add up over time.

It’s best to delegate these kinds of tasks to others.

You can also look at tasks that are time-consuming and can take a larger part of your day.

Are these tasks affecting other important projects and can easily others can easily do them?

If yes, then you can delegate them to others as well.

Are you also trying to meet a deadline for a project or task that is time-sensitive?

If doing it alone will take a lot of time and you won’t meet up schedule, then it is best you delegate to others.

Additionally, you can delegate tasks that you are not good at.

Have someone on the team who has better skills in the area do these tasks.

How to Delegate Effectively – Select the Right Fit for the Job/Task 

The next step you need to take after deciding on which tasks to delegate is to choose who is the best fit for the task/job.

This is where knowing the strengths, abilities, skills, and weaknesses of each of your team members come in.

When you have this information, it helps you to know who is best for the task.

While making this decision, it would be fine to consider such factors as fast learning, dedication, willingness to learn, hard work, and discipline.

The skillset of the employee to the task or project is also important.

You should also consider the kind of work that each of your employees prefers, as some work better as individuals and some thrive on a team.

This can also help you make the right choice and delegate effectively.

Clearly Explain Why You Are Delegating 

If you have to delegate tasks to someone, it is good to let them know why you want them to take up such tasks.

Without a clear explanation, some employees might react negatively to taking up more tasks or responsibilities and find it overwhelming.

Use this opportunity to let them know what it is about them that makes them fit for this role.

Also, explain how carrying out such tasks would prepare them for additional responsibilities in the future.

And remember to state the skills and experience they would gain during the process.

That way, they will be more inclined to want to do it.

Communicate What is Required to Complete the Task

To delegate effectively, you must provide clear instructions on what you want the person to do.

This would involve giving them basic guidelines and also letting them know the results you expect of them.

Remember that they are often not used to these tasks or responsibilities and hence would need clarifications on what to do and what the objectives are.

When you do this, the process is more effective, and there is a higher chance of success.

Do Not Micromanage 

The tendency to want to micromanage employees to who you delegate tasks is very high.

For one thing, you might be skeptical about their ability to effectively carry out such tasks and have fears they might fall short.

It could also be that you’ve convinced yourself for a long time that only you can effectively handle that task and as such you struggle to keep your hands off it.

This might make you resort to micromanagement.

However, this is not going to make your delegation effective, as this would put unnecessary pressure on the person and affect the process.

To avoid micromanaging those to whom you delegate, try to communicate the results you expect from them and not the method.

They might choose to use a different method from you, and that is no problem.

Allow them to gain experience, apply their process and get the results.

Provide Them With Needed Tools and Resources

While you do not want to micromanage people you delegate to, you also do not want to leave them without support.

Support in this context would involve giving them all the tools, training, and resources they need to be effective.

It would not be proper to delegate tasks or responsibilities to people and then not provide them all they need to be successful.

If the task requires them to use software they are not familiar with, it would only be proper to train them on its use first.

Also, this applies to showing them the skills they would need to make them more efficient in carrying out that responsibility.

Give Them Responsibility in Addition to Tasks 

When you delegate tasks to others, you also need to empower them to effectively carry out these tasks.

The last thing you want is for them to keep coming back to you for every little decision and every single detail.

Check the level of the employee and the complexity level of the task you have to assign, and decide on what level of authority you can give to them.

If you fail to do this, the back and forth might result in time wastage, both for you and the one you delegate to handle the tasks.

On the other hand, when you give responsibility and a certain level of authority for decision-making and autonomy, the work is faster.

Always Do Proper Follow-Up

One of the mistakes that some leaders make when delegating and which makes it ineffective is failure to follow up.

It is not just enough to assign tasks to people and then leave them to it waiting for completion.

At intervals, it is good to check up on their progress and ask how the process is coming up.

That way, if you notice any challenges they are experiencing, you can offer needed help.

Remember that the aim of this is not to micromanage but rather to follow the progress made and contribute if need be.

Support Their Decisions 

One fact that you should always keep in mind as a great manager is that your method for doing things cannot be the same as others.

With that in mind, you should be open to the methods that those you delegate tasks to apply to execute them.

When they make decisions that might be different from what you prefer but do the work and within the moral ethics of the workplace, then support them.

This makes the employee confident, feel trusted, and can even get them more creative in the process.

Provide Feedback and Show Appreciation 

Now that the project or task is complete, it is good to provide feedback to the employee.

Feedback will involve checking the work done and letting them know how they did.

If there are ways they can improve, avoid blaming them for the errors but rather objectively point them out.

And also tell them what they can do next time to make it better.

Also, do not forget to show appreciation for the work they do.

A simple “Thank You” can go a long way in reassuring the employee and pushing them to do more.

Conclusion – How to Delegate Effectively 

Have you been holding back from delegating tasks and giving responsibilities to others in your organization?

If so, what are your fears?

Whatever they are, they are genuine, and it is okay to feel that way as it shows you are particular about top work quality.

However, you have all you need to be a good delegator and experience success with the process.

Applying the practical suggestions given above will not only help you delegate more but do so effectively.