Whatever you do for a living, chances are, you'll encounter a task that needs to be delegated at some point in your career. Especially if you're a manager, team leader, or entrepreneur constantly trying to sustain and diversify the business.
The word 'delegation' refers to “a group of people who have been tasked with a specific job or given a specific purpose, or the act of assigning a specific task or purpose to a person or group of people.” In an office setting, this entails a superior assigning different responsibilities to various employees to complete a task.
Knowing how to delegate effectively makes all the difference for a responsible leader because it promotes open communication, trust, and collaboration while getting things done better and quicker. Believe it or not, effective delegation is one of the characteristics that distinguishes great leaders from ordinary bosses.
For example, a typical boss will try to do everything by himself/herself because he/she doesn't trust other people, then become enraged when things do not go as planned because no one is assisting... but, errr, who's fault is that?
A great leader, on the other hand, will define the tasks that must be completed, assign them to the relevant skilful employees, and take accountability if anything goes wrong. Isn't the latter type of boss way cooler, and more influential?
Still unsure about delegation? Not to worry, continue reading to learn the steps, tips, and why this skill is so important to a company's success.
You must know that delegation is more than just passing tasks over to people because you don't feel like doing them. It's all about delegating to the right people, being fair, and getting the job done well. Also, when delegating, avoid micromanaging by imposing too much control, direction, and input on the employees.
No one likes being watched over their shoulders or called in for updates all the time before they can even complete the job properly. Keep in mind that delegation necessitates a great deal of trust, communication, and coordination, and when done correctly, everyone on your team benefits.
Having said that, effective delegation involves the following four steps:
As a boss, you probably have a lot on your plate, and if you don't delegate properly, it could eat you alive. You don't want to end up stressed and burned out! It may be difficult to delegate because you believe you can do it yourself, or simply don’t want to burden others. So, the next time you’re in this situation, consider the following:
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, delegating it to someone capable will likely be much better.
Certainly, the tasks you have aren't all the same and can most likely only be completed by people who have the needed competencies. You must assess each employee's skill level, dependability, and performance to determine which task is best suited to them.
Now that you've decided who you'll delegate to, let's move on to the next step.
Delegating a task is more than just sending a single-line email that says, "Hi Bella, I need you to do this assignment and the deadline is next week, thank you."
When delegating, it's preferable (more like compulsory!) to provide clear instructions to the employees who will be performing the task. You must be very specific and make them aware of your expectations so that they do not become confused.
If thorough details are provided in advance, things will run much more smoothly, and there'll be less chance of errors.
When the completed work is submitted to you, make sure to provide constructive feedback to your employee after carefully reviewing the work. This part is critical so that the person doing the work knows if they did a good job, or if they need to improve.
Make an effort to recognise your employees' good work so they'll be motivated to work harder and do better the next time. If your expectations are not met, you must discuss why this occurred, give helpful comments, and ensure they fully comprehend and can improve for future tasks.
Delegation appears to be fairly straightforward because you might see it as merely assigning tasks to specific people. However, not everyone appears to be up to it, and some may not even know where to begin. There are numerous impediments to leaders delegating work to their employees, such as:
For some leaders, the actual issue is a lack of expertise. It's possible that they were never taught to delegate or that they haven't done so in a long time. These are some of the methods for developing or improving delegation skills.
Any leader out there should be able to delegate effectively because failing to do so has ramifications for the organisation's future success. This includes feeling overwhelmed, having low levels of team engagement, delegating at the wrong level, failing to foster relationships with team members, and, worst of all, losing good employees to other companies.
These tips are beneficial not only for leaders who are unsure of how to delegate but also for all employees who may be in charge of delegation when necessary. You must now be wondering...
Well, leaders are not the only ones who must constantly delegate at work. Regular employees are occasionally put in situations where they must delegate responsibility. For example, you may find that the work given to you is excessive and you feel compelled to share it with another colleague. What you might do is ask your boss for permission to delegate the tasks to other team members.
Another scenario is that your company is trying to form a health and safety committee to care for all staff in the workplace. Assuming you're a regular employee who has been appointed as the committee's leader. You must then obtain first aid kits, contact the fire station, pinpoint the nearest hospital, find an ambulance contact, get CPR classes, and the list goes on.
Do you think you'll be able to keep things running smoothly if you try to do everything yourself? You might end up running around panicked and frustrated. Wouldn’t it be better to form a team of responsible members and delegate each task to the relevant person? Now, let's get to one of the most significant questions regarding delegation!
If done correctly, work delegation will benefit every level of a company, whether you're on the receiving or giving end. To be fair, the importance must be assessed from two perspectives: Employees of all ranks and the company itself.
As we all know, not every employee is made equal, but these are some of the possibilities that may be expected from employees of all levels with fair and effective delegation:
Some of the key benefits for the company when employees properly assign jobs, do outstanding work, and complete them on time are as follows:
Does the name Sir Richard Branson ring a bell? A Google search for this Virgin Group founder yields a plethora of articles, guides, and stories about his business principles for becoming a great leader. One of the most important is, of course, effective delegation.
His story of delegating is well-recorded on Virgin’s website where he was quoted, “It’s vital to the success of your business that you learn to hand off those things that you aren’t able to do well. I’m not saying that you should never try your hand at a new skill – entrepreneurs are usually insatiably curious."
This demonstrates how important delegation is for business success. Sir Richard Branson began with just one company, Virgin Records, in 1970, and now there are more than 40 Virgin companies in over 35 countries. And get this: His net worth, as of February 2022, is $6 billion!
You now understand how critical it is to not only delegate but to do so effectively to achieve better outcomes. It may not be easy at first, and it certainly wasn't for Sir Richard Branson, but the more you do it, the more experience you will gain, and you will one day delegate like the great leader you know you can be!
Regardless of whether you're a leader or a regular employee, you can and should always delegate to make a specific job more efficient. This is not only for work, but it will also benefit you in your personal life. As a result, you'll be able to achieve a better work-life balance and enjoy greater peace.