Delegation is a powerful skill that can unlock a wealth of opportunities for your business, while allowing you to grow as a leader.
Many readers will be familiar with the various teamwork-related clichés that exist, with each championing the idea of working together and sharing the workload to achieve better results.
Think of delegation as tactical teamwork, as you, the leader, gives responsibility to other members of the team, freeing up valuable time to complete your own high payoff activities while empowering colleagues and giving them the chance to impress.
It’s a valuable skill that will enhance workplace productivity, while facilitating the growth and development of your team’s more junior members, so it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.
However, learning to delegate appropriately can be challenging, so it’s important to assess each situation and make a thoughtful decision on which tasks to delegate and who should be trusted with the responsibility.
One of the most important things to remember about delegation is that it should be an opportunity to empower colleagues, not a way of dumping unfavourable tasks onto other people.
To achieve the best results, you need to make the individual feel as though they have been trusted because of their capabilities, taking steps to ensure the wider team know and respect the person in question.
This may involve giving that person a temporary title change or sending an email to the wider team as a way of informing them.
Ultimately, if someone has been given the opportunity to manage and oversee a task, then you must ensure they are given the support and cooperation needed to perform to the best of their ability.
While delegation will free up valuable time for you to focus on other tasks, it’s counter-productive to throw somebody in at the deep end, with no structure in place to monitor their progress.
Once the individual has started the task, you should check in regularly and see how they’re getting on, as this will allow them to ask questions and feel more relaxed in the role knowing that you are looking out for them.
For some people, having a weekly meeting can help relieve some of the pressure, as it gives them an opportunity to address any issues and make improvements moving forward.
If you are checking their progress regularly, then remind them that you are there for support, so they don’t feel uncomfortable when you’re looking over their shoulder.
Redirecting the process
Despite your best intentions, there can be occasions where a plan hasn’t worked out as well as first hoped, and you need to get involved in order to correct the situation.
In these circumstances, you need to demonstrate leadership and take control of the task personally, ensuring you thank the person for their efforts and redirect them to get it back on track.
Although you may not want to risk offending the individual, allowing them to continue performing the task incorrectly is counter-productive for all parties, as they won’t learn how to execute the task appropriately.
If you redirect the task professionally, your colleague should respect any involvement as support and try to learn a more effective approach moving forward.
Unlock the power of delegation…
When it comes to delegating tasks, it’s important not to view the process as a way of dishing out work to make your life easier.
Delegation should be tactical, meaning you give people responsibility over tasks that match their skill set and support them along the way, so that they can perform the same task to a high standard again in the future.
When executed correctly, you should end up with a streamlined system that enables you to train junior colleagues, while freeing up time to be spent completing high payoff activities.