How to Delegate Better

Delegating is hard for many people. It’s difficult to trust others to do a job that we’ve been doing, particularly if that job is an important one. Even if you find delegating easy, you might struggle with delegating efficiently. We’ve all experienced delegating a task to someone multiple times, only to once again spend more time on it than we would have if we’d just done it ourselves. The key to delegating effectively is to do it strategically. Here are 5 tips that will help you to delegate better.

  • Pick the best person to delegate to. What skills are needed for the task? Who is known for performing this type of task effectively? Our tendency is to delegate to whoever is the least busy, but that person isn’t always the best person to complete a particular task. You need to delegate to someone who can deliver.
  • Give clear directives and instructions.If you have parameters or specifications for the task, be sure to communicate those. If the task is different from others the person has performed, you may need to provide instructions. Don’t explain in so much detail that the listener is insulted, but provide enough that the person can accomplish the task successfully. Encourage questions.
  • Set a task completion date and a follow-up system.Tell the delegatee what the deadline is, and if the project is a larger one, set milestones. Establish a follow-up schedule when you will check in to see if milestones are being completed on time.
  • Teach. Delegating should not be viewed as just a way to get rid of tasks you don’t enjoy. Your employees should be learning through the process, expanding their skills and using their judgment. If employees are new to a task and learning, don’t discourage them, but teach them how you learned to do the task efficiently and effectively. In the long run, it will save you time and energy, and you’ll be developing your employees as well.
  • Don’t think you’re the only one who can do the job right. Sure, we all have preferences on how to do things, but what matters is the goal. If someone accomplishes a task on time and with success, it doesn’t really matter if he or she arrived at the result through a different methodology. If there are specific standards to follow, outline them clearly, and then allow people use their decision-making skills and perform they way they do best.

Delegating strategically will free your time to focus on the things you need to. When you follow these best practices, you can more easily have confidence that the job will be done on time and with success, freeing your mind to work on your own to-do list.

Published on March 5th, 2015 in Blog

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