Successful leaders that know how to manage effectively are apt to delegate. This is the difference between successful leaders and leaders who are just keeping their heads above water.
How do you accomplish this effectively?
What it Means to Delegate
Delegation usually means that you are transferring responsibility for certain activities or tasks from one person to another. Most often, this is done between a manager or upper-level position to a subordinate. However, it is not always a top-down handoff; sometimes a leader or project manager will hand off tasks to their peers within a company.
As a leader, sometimes it’s hard to know which tasks to hand off and which ones to keep for yourself. Knowing what to remove from your plate can help you avoid exhaustion and creative burnout. It can also help empower your employees to utilize talents their daily tasks may not allow them to use. Delegating can allow input from others that could improve your workflow and save you time and money.
Most of the time, good managers know how to complete each task required of the team. However, this doesn’t mean that a manager should be completing all the tasks. The first skill a manager should have is this – you don’t have to do everything!
To delegate tasks effectively, a manager, first and foremost, should have good communication skills. Other skills include:
- Properly Explaining Tasks
- Defining Expectations
- Active Listening
- Oral Communication
- Written Communication
- Quickly Correcting Miscommunication
Strong skills in these areas enable a manager to know which work to delegate, and who to charge the work to, while ensuring the team meets its goals.
Types of Tasks Worth Delegating
Here are tips for choosing what kind of tasks to delegate:
- Repeatable Tasks – Recurring tasks that others can handle. Take a look at your workflow, and pick one task to delegate to someone else. What type of tasks are you spending the most time on? Do they eat up all of the hours in your day? If so, document the steps it takes to finish your task and hand it off to a chosen staff member. Examples of tasks like this could be posting on social media or responding to website inquiries.
- Give Away the Tasks You Aren’t Good At – Pressing items you can’t handle but others can. This is pretty self-explanatory – if there is something that has to be done in your business, but you are not particularly good at it, hand it off. Example – Are you a genius business owner behind the scenes but suck at sales? Hire a salesperson.
- Administrative Tasks – These types of tasks are no-brainers for handoff. For example, are you still doing the accounts payable for your business? Using an accounting system like Quickbooks or the like, you can easily document and hand off this job to someone else. Just make sure you can break the tasks down into track-able steps.
- Delegate to Develop Talent – These are tasks that could help people grow in areas key to their future. Using the above example, perhaps you are good at sales calls, but you have a team member who is ready and able to learn to make sales. If you don’t offer opportunities, you’ll never be able to grow your team.
- Whatever Is Beyond Your Job Description – As mentioned above, if you are the CEO of your company and are still completing too many admin tasks, consider how much your time is worth. What is your hourly rate? For example, if this rate is much higher than you would pay a person to complete marketing tasks such as posting to social media or sending emails, then maybe it’s time to outsource to an agency.
What to Avoid When Delegating
After defining what tasks you should be delegating, it’s worth mentioning those tasks you shouldn’t delegate. Avoid delegating tasks that are:
- Personal or sensitive in nature, such as performance evaluations, discipline, or counseling
- Require your knowledge or expertise, or legal restrictions, such as a lawsuit or client agreement related
Also, you should avoid delegating to:
- Team members who already have a full plate
- Have other more essential tasks that take up most of their attention
- People who lack the skills or time to complete the task successfully
Sometimes the most challenging part of delegating is simply letting go. After all, for many of you, your business is your baby. You’ve put in the long hours, the sweat, and the tears to have a successful business. You’d like to do everything yourself, but it’s just not possible!
The best advice is just to start small. Delegate your low priority, “easy” tasks first and work your way up from there. Eventually, you’ll be able to let down your guard and delegate more easily.
Finally, it’s important to touch base after the task is complete to review the results and look for ways to improve your process. Always be measuring, learning, and rewarding! A task well done deserves recognition, and your team will thank you for it!