As a leader and manager, someone who employs people and is building a team, the ability to successfully delegate tasks, responsibilities and authority is, or will become, critical to your ability to grow and develop your business.
However, it’s a skill that often we struggle with. Even those who can delegate, often don’t do it as effectively as they could, and for those who own their own businesses, and are building their own team, this can be a really tough art to master, because it involves letting go, and releasing control.
Put simply, delegation is the action of assigning responsibility for the completion of a task to another person. Typically, you as the delegator maintain the responsibility for the task being completed, although you may, depending on the circumstances, delegate the authority up to a certain level as well. So, you delegate the ‘doing’ but still need to ensure the doing gets done.
As your business grows, delegation becomes critical, you will ultimately become a bottle neck in your own business, and the reality is you can’t do everything yourself and also grow. Being able to effectively delegate is not only beneficial for you, but also for your team. It helps to build trust, develops their skills, empowers them to strive further and stretches their skills whilst building confidence.
So given how great it is all round, why do so many people struggle to master the art of effective delegation? Some leaders and managers feel that delegating is a sign of weakness, a sign that they aren’t coping, or can’t handle the workload. Others feel like it’s easier to do it all themselves, and then of course there are those who struggle to release control. For the most part it’s probably a combination of these factors which either prevents them from delegating, or sees them delegate ineffectively, almost sub consciously sabotaging their own delegation efforts to prove to themselves that they should jut avoid delegating – you can see the vicious and unproductive cycle this could create.
If this is you, and you struggle to delegate or would like to be doing it more effectively here is an 8 step process we have developed to assist:
Step 1: Learn to let go, if you have to control every tiny detail all of the time, delegation will be hard for you. You need to learn to let others try, and trust them to do their best, even if it’s not the exact way you would have done things.
Step 2: Choose wisely – consider who you are delegating what tasks to, think about skill sets, interests, work styles and personality traits. Some people will do far better with a task than others, so select for delegation channels wisely, put real thought into who you choose.
Step 3: Why? Explaining to someone why they are doing something is critical to the engagement in the end result. If they don’t know the big picture it’s hard for them to invest the right energy and ensure the objective is achieved.
Step 4: Instruct Clearly – you can’t expect someone to read your mind, the clearer the instruction about what the task is, and what the required outcome you are needing them to achieve, the better you are setting them up for success.
Step 5: Parameters – you know the saying, when people don’t know the rules they make up their own, so parameters are important. Include things like when you expect updates, stages and timeframes for project milestones and anything else relevant.
Step 6: Resources and Training – make sure they have the resources and skills they need to do the task at hand
Step 7: Responsibility and Authority – it’s not just about the task, it’s also the responsibility you are delegating. Responsibility to make decisions and achieve the outcome.
Step 8: Debrief – Once the task is over provide feedback, positive encouragement and an old fashioned thank you goes a mighty long way here.
These 8 simple steps will have you mastering the art of delegation in no time!
Unsure what tasks to start with when it comes to delegation? Try thinking of potential delegation tasks like these:
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