Delegating, or the act of assigning tasks to employees, is necessary in today’s business world. You’re busy, you can’t do it all yourself, and you certainly don’t want to micromanage your highly capable team members. Plus, with more and more employees telecommuting and working in the virtual realm, delegating becomes a crucial part of getting things done in a timely manner.
While it may often seem that great managers are born and not made, the truth is that delegation is a skill that anyone can learn and improve upon. Here are six tips to help you delegate tasks more effectively and run a more productive operation.
- Trust in the expertise of others. We know — you’re a control freak, and you attribute your success to knowing what’s happening with everything related to your business. However, it’s important to remember that others have skills and talents as well, some of which you may not have. If you’ve hired good people (and you know you have), trust in their abilities. You’ll need to be able to let go of your need to control before you can delegate with confidence.
- Offer a choice when it’s possible. If you have more than one project that you need tackled, and you have several employees who can do them, consider asking who would prefer to work on what. It’s not always an option, but when it is, the choice allows employees to feel more in control of their job and take ownership of what they’re working on.
- Communicate well. If you don’t tell your team member what you want from them, you won’t get it. It’s especially important to have some measurable outcomes so everyone knows exactly what’s expected of them. Have a clear idea of what you want done, let your employees know, and check for understanding.
- Check in on the regular. While you don’t want to constantly nag your team members about getting their project completed, it is a good idea to ask for regular updates. That way, you’ll know that projects are getting done properly, you’ll keep employees accountable for their work, and you’ll make sure things are on track for deadline.
- Be supportive, but don’t take the job back. When employees need help, be there to give it to them. Answer questions and provide advice, but unless it’s absolutely necessary, don’t take the job from them. Instead, work with your team members to come up with viable solutions, and then allow them to implement those solutions and see the task through to completion.
- Review and say thanks. While many younger employees tend to look only toward the future, there’s a lot to be learned from what’s been done in the past — especially in the recent past. What went well? What could go better next time? Understanding your missteps can keep you from making them again, and understanding your triumphs can help you make them routine. Additionally, say thank you! Expressing gratitude for a job well done boosts employee morale and lets your team members know that you truly value their contributions.
How can you delegate more effectively? It isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary to keep your business running like a well-oiled machine. And, the good news is that there are things you can do to make efficient delegation the rule rather than the exception. Try these six ideas and see if they make your job easier and give your team members a higher sense of accomplishment. The next time you’re faced with a pile of tasks to get done, don’t get crushed by its weight — delegate!