Managers have a lot on their plates. To be great at their jobs, they must be excellent at delegating responsibility and assigning tasks to employees while ensuring that the organization's goals are being met. Strong managers understand how to effectively delegate tasks while giving other employees a chance for helpful feedback and valuable growth.
There is a misconception that communicating delegated tasks to people is all that is required of managers. That would be merely dumping work onto people, which is completely unfair. Instead, managers must step up and take the responsibility to assign tasks while being clear to the team member on the desired results for the company's good.
Keep reading to learn more about how you, as a manager, can learn how to delegate tasks effectively to team members for ultimate success in your organization.
A Common Failure
Do you know what a common failure many organizations come across? It is the failure of organizations managers to delegate effectively. This collective failure could be easily remedied if managers would go through training in task delegation.
Too Much, Not Enough
While some managers are known for dumping too much work onto their employees, others can effectively slow up productivity by not delegating enough work to others. Several reasons some managers think that work responsibilities should not be transferred to others include:
- The belief that others cannot deliver work at the level of quality they can
- Urge to make themselves indispensable
- Lack of confidence in fellow employee's work motivation and ethic
- A notion that they can get it done faster by themselves than by responsibly delegating it to other staff members
- A feeling of guilt that by burdening another team member with a task will lead to overworked staff
Some reasons are legitimate for deciding not to delegate specific tasks to fellow employees. It is tough to pass along responsibilities when companies are understaffed, leaving no one to report to managers. However, a few of the reasons listed above do not stand up in rational thought. Managers are not supposed to work entirely by themselves. Instead, they must work with other employees and managers to complete goals, plan for the future while working to improve and develop new strategies. They must prepare for economic changes, strive to keep up with new technology, and keep working on personal development for themselves and their staff.
Managers must ensure that their staff members get as well-trained as possible. Doing so identifies potential future leaders while also preparing a successor once they move up in the company or move onto another position somewhere else someday. When managers delegate responsibility to an employee, that employee becomes a trusted resource valuable to the company. Below are some tips to ensure that your next set of projects requiring delegation goes smoothly.
- Keep a delegation attitude. It is vital to keep a delegation attitude when working with and managing others. If you are not asking yourself, "Who else could do this?" frequently, then you should be. Take a self-audit of small tasks that you have been doing yourself for years. If other people could do any of those tasks, go ahead and start assigning them.
- Define your desired outcome. When delegating tasks, ask yourself critical questions like, "What is the result I am hoping to accomplish from this?" Rather than merely unloading duties to your employees, learn that you are looking to achieve tasks the best way possible when you delegate.
- Select the right person. When you are selecting people to delegate tasks, it is crucial to consider several criteria. Who in your office has the necessary skills to complete the job? You do not want to overload the most talented person in the office with the most work. Is there anyone who needs a lesson in responsibility? Does anyone have the time to take on a new responsibility? Who would like the opportunity?
- Get your team's input. Ask them what they are interested in changing, who they want to add to the project, and how they plan to define results towards the end. To do this, meet up with your team, your supervisors, and your customers.
- Define time factors. Let your team members know when you expect the project's turnover. If you are looking for progress reports along the way, now is the time to set up those expectations.
- Provide training. Will your team members need proper training before the project begins to perform their best? If you need to guide them at this point, do so, but allow them space for independent thinking.
- Define the authority level. If some authority level is needed to complete the project, grant it. This will make your team members feel more enabled to achieve. Who are the other people who need to know that this person has the power to act? Be sure to let your employee and team know all of this before the project starts.
- Check progress and assess performance. Even if you have already delegated tasks, you still have to be there to see how the team progresses. Is how the team moving aligned with the outcomes you laid down at the onset? Take note of the learnings, not just of the team overall, but also you and the person tasked to lead them. Do not forget to assess the team and individual performance. This can be your reference for future delegation of tasks.
Communication of Delegation
When managers decide to delegate some responsibilities, they need to communicate next with the person or team in charge of a project. Below is a four-part communication process that can help ensure a successful delegation of responsibilities so that duties are done, and expectations on all sides can be met.
- It would be best if you meet face-to-face with your employee without time pressure. One-on-one time is critical and makes sure that you will not be interrupted. Explain to the person you chose them as a perfect fit for a particular assignment and precisely what results need to be achieved. You must remember you are overall assigning outcomes, not just menial tasks or busywork. Encourage your employee to ask questions. The session has to be a dialogue between people, not a monologue.
- Make sure that your employee understands what is going on and confirm their commitment. This is missing during many delegation conversations. It is so vital that the person you have delegated the task to understand how to perform it. Asking, "Do you understand?" almost always corresponded with the answer "Yes" or "I think so," even if the employee is confused. However, do not come across as testing them. Instead, ask gently if the person can repeat what you told so far to check the understanding and prevent miscommunication.
- As mentioned earlier, do not forget to define your employee's authority level. What kind of power will they need to accomplish the task you have given them? Inform anyone else who needs to know that you have given this employee extra authority for the time being.
- Follow up with your employee to provide coaching and guidance as needed. Be available to ask questions as much as possible. While avoiding micromanaging your employees, give feedback to reinforce what has been done well. Help them focus on the learnings when they make mistakes. Know too when to jump in when they encounter problems that require learning.
At Infinity Consulting Solutions (ICS), we understand the importance of supporting employee development and are dedicated to the success of all its clients, candidates, and employees. ICS is proud to have dynamic leaders who are experts within their industry and have a proven track record of excellence. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our consulting services.