Sometimes, the most valuable thing you can do as a manager is delegate work. Not only does delegating work give you more time to focus on high-impact tasks, but it also gives your team members a chance to get involved in exciting projects.
But knowing what—and how—to delegate can be daunting for new managers. Delegating is a leadership skill you can develop over time.
Delegation is the act of assigning tasks to other members of your team. It improves efficiency and decreases the burden on your shoulders. It's also a great way to develop others and free yourself from more strategic work.
The act of delegating is easier said than done. Effective managers need to know how to delegate and what they can do to ensure success.
Let's talk about why so many find delegating difficult. We'll also cover developing delegation skills that are essential for leadership success. Organizations thrive when leaders successfully delegate.
Research shows that delegation has relation to:
This article will walk you through 10 tips to help you become a better delegator.
1. Clarify priorities
Understanding the priority—and difficulty—of tasks makes it easier for you to delegate. If something is a high priority, it needs to get done soon—either by you or someone else. Depending on the type of work, you can then decide to do it yourself or delegate.
The best way to clarify priorities is to connect work to the team and company goals; when you and your team have clarity on why your work matters, it's easier to prioritize effectively and get a high-impact job done. If you haven't already, do this by putting all of your team's work into a shared source of truth, like a project management tool. That way, everyone has direct visibility into who's doing what by when, and why.
2. Practice letting go
Delegating can be difficult for first-time managers and leaders because you're putting important work into someone else's hands. You probably feel connected to your work and responsible for getting it done well.
Learning to delegate is a critical skill, but you shouldn't be uncomfortable every time you delegate. So instead, practice handing off small types of work at first before building up to more significant projects. Be patient—both with yourself and your team members. It will take time to build your delegation skills. In the same vein, team members may take longer to get this work done than you would. But by delegating work, you're allowing team members to develop their skills over time and take one more thing off your plate.
3. Identify work to delegate
The first thing that you have to know is that you can't delegate every task. Some work is strategic or business-critical and would benefit from your attention. Before you begin delegating work, evaluate the importance of the work and the implications of delegating it.
That isn't to say you can't delegate important tasks. If another team member has the context, experience, or skill set to do this work effectively, delegating it might be a good option. But keep in mind that achieving a good result is still your responsibility.
Good work to delegate includes:
Work that will recur in the future: If you have a recurring task, it's often worth delegating it to someone else who has the time and energy to do the job well.
Work that aligns with team members' interests: If a team member has expressed interest in developing a new skill or honing an existing one, see if there's any work you can delegate to them to help them build those skills.
Work that connects to team members' goals: One of the best ways to delegate is to assign work that connects to a team member's professional goals.
Delegating work is a great way to not only build your management skills but to support professional development across your team. To set your co-workers up for success, ensure they have all the information they need to get the delegated task done correctly. Learn more advice for any self-development topics and consult with us! Also, don't forget to follow us on Instagram @baikgp and @ayureadypodcast for more information and extra insights!