What if other people mess it up? What if they fail? How should I teach them to handle complex tasks? These are some of the questions that arise in the minds of leaders when they decide to delegate tasks. Most leaders fear that their team members will not be able to handle complex jobs. Since they refuse to delegate tasks, these leaders often face burnout and are overworked because of having to continuously do everything themselves. But how can leaders change their ways? How can they learn how to delegate tasks effectively? Here are the dos and don’ts of delegating tasks.
What Is Delegation?
Delegation is redirecting tasks to individuals or team members. As leaders, it is your sole discretion, and you decide how you want to distribute tasks and responsibilities to others. When leaders do this effectively, they not only ensure team success, but also ensure better optimization of tasks, but more on that later.
Why Is Delegation Important?
Leaders delegate tasks because it makes their lives easier, but is that all? Here are the top 5 benefits of delegating tasks effectively.
- It prevents burnout: leaders can share responsibility with other team members.
- It helps empower team members and makes them take initiative.
- It helps enhance the spirit of team building.
- Helps inspire and create emerging leaders within an organization
- Enhances creativity because different people put their perspective
What Is Delegating Leadership Style?
A delegating leadership style is where leaders frequently delegate tasks to their employees and empower them to handle responsibility. The style involves leaders who trust their employees and allow them agency and freedom to exercise creativity. Additionally, these leaders act as coaches and mentors and ensure their employees are well-equipped to handle any task.
How to Improve Your Ability to Delegate as a Leader
Delegating tasks can be scary sometimes, but with practice, you can learn to master the skill. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
1. Identify the Tasks You Will Delegate
Some tasks are better off if they are handled by someone experienced, like yourself. However, other tasks can be delegated because they have some room for error in them. Before delegating tasks, make sure you categorize them and do not delegate tasks that are crucial to the success of your business.
2. Play to Your Employee’s Strengths
Some people are better at public dealing, while other employees are good at numbers. While delegating tasks, make sure you play to your employee’s strengths, so you get the best possible results. For example, if your employee has good communication skills, delegate a task that involves presenting proposals to them.
3. Define the Tasks Clearly
Most leaders will simply hand over the tasks to their employees and expect superb results. This leads to failure because the employee is unaware of the details. Before delegating a task, make sure you explain any relevant details to your employee. Make sure that they understand the dos and don’ts of the said task.
4. Provide Adequate Resources
Employees who are provided with tight and unrealistic deadlines often fail. When you delegate tasks, you need to provide adequate resources like time, money, and mentorship to the individual. This not only boosts their confidence, but also makes them complete their tasks in the given time. Moreover, if your employee needs manpower and assistance from other team members, it is your job to ensure that they have it.
5. Establish Authentic Communication Channels
Most conversations get lost in translation. Imagine that every time your employees have a question, they need to go through their team lead, then the manager to reach you. This leads to a lot of miscommunication. Make use of project management software like Monday.com or Trello so that your employees have access to you when they have a query.
6. Allowing For Failure
A lot of leaders do not delegate tasks because they fear their employees will mess them up and fail at their tasks. And that is a genuine concern because there are times when your employees will not get a job done. However, rather than ridiculing or shaming them, a great leader would persuade them and encourage them to rise and do better next time. That is how an organization grows.
7. Being Patient with Results
If the only way for you to assess results is through numbers, you are in for some big disappointment. If you want to achieve long-term results and have your organization grow, you need to be patient. Even when you can not see an obvious growth in numbers, rest assured that through delegating tasks, your team is learning and improving every day.
8. Asking For Feedback
If you are new to delegating tasks, there is a fair chance that you might be making some errors. You might be delegating tasks that should be reserved for the managers, or you might be providing incomplete information to your employees. Whatever the case may be, asking for feedback can help you improve your ways and make you better at your job.
How to Delegate Tasks Successfully?
1. Categorize Tasks
Most tasks should be separated into three categories. Category A should contain all the tasks that are crucial and should be handled by the most experienced in the firm. These should not be delegated right away. Next is Category B, these are important tasks, but can gradually be delegated in bits and portions. Last is category C which contains all the tasks that should be delegated right away. These are the day-to-day, repetitive tasks that your team members can handle easily.
2. Assess Subcategories of Tasks
Once you have made broad categorizations, it is time to further categorize your tasks. Arrange these subcategories into hierarchies and delegate them to people who are adequately qualified to handle them. For instance, if you are delegating a difficult task with complex figures, make sure you chose someone who has been in the firm for some time and is able to deal with such complexities.
3. Do Not Delegate Tasks That Are Leader’s Responsibility
Although delegating tasks is important, it is not always wise to delegate tasks that are a leader’s responsibility. A leader is expected to resolve complex issues within a firm or resolve conflicts. When they delegate such tasks to managers, there is a greater chance that favoritism and bias can hamper the results. A leader should hence be mindful of which tasks they are delegating and to whom.
4. Trial and Error
If you are new to this, remember that the first few weeks may be difficult. You may delegate a task to person A, only to find out that person B was more suited. This does not mean that there was a lapse in your judgment; it simply means that you are still learning and improving at this job. When data tells you that you have made an error, trust it rather than being stubborn about it.
5. Do Not Delegate All at Once
You may read all about the benefits of delegation and may be compelled to delegate all at once, but that is never wise. Remember that neither you nor your associate and team members are used to this. If you dump in additional responsibilities to them, you will only face failure and disappointment.
6. Know the Difference between Coaching and Delegating
Although both require you to put some trust in your employees, coaching is different from delegating. When you are coaching your employees, you are assuming that they still lack knowledge, and you are helping them complete certain tasks. On the other hand, when you are delegating, the underlying impression is that your employee is up to the task and already knows what to do. They seldom need much help.
7. Delegate Cross-Functionally
The most successful leaders delegate tasks cross-functionally. This means that rather than bombarding one individual with all the complex, new tasks, they delegate them to a team of individuals with varying expertise. This ensures that what one individual lacks in their experience, the other, can make it up for it. Moreover, it helps the team finish tasks on time- and perfectly.
Why People Don’t Delegate
1. The Guilt of Dumping Your Work on Others
People who are brought up a certain way and are used to being hyper-independent, are less likely to delegate their tasks to others. They feel guilty when they ask others to complete tasks. The underlying thought is that they are somehow burdening other people. In reality, leaders who delegate tasks are more liked and generally become better at their job. This is because they are providing other people the opportunity to succeed.
2. Feeling Threatened by Other’s Success
Some leaders, especially the ones that have a fear-based leadership style, feel insecure about other people’s skills. They believe that they need to complete all the tasks themselves, so they can remain in the limelight. By delegating tasks to others, they will be providing opportunities to other emerging leaders to succeed and transcend their position.
3. They Do Not Want to Lose Control
Another major reason for not delegating is that leaders feel they will lose control. If they delegate tasks to others and if these tasks are taken care of, this tells others that the leaders are replaceable and no longer hold a monopoly over the running of the business. However, in reality, leaders can delegate tasks and maintain control by inspiring others.
4. They Think They Can Do a Better Job
One of the biggest reasons why leaders fail is because they show symptoms of narcissistic behavior. They believe that only they are capable of achieving something great and others should simply share their limelight. They refuse to delegate because they refuse to accept that other people can be equally capable and complete a task just as well as they do.
When to Delegate
Delegating tasks should not be a random process. As a leader, you need to ask yourself a couple of questions before you delegate. Here are some.
- Can Someone Do the Task Better than You?: if the answer is yes, you should not get insecure and delegate the task.
- Is Someone Else Qualified to Do the Task: this will help prevent leader burnout, as someone equally qualified will be handling the task.
- Is It a Repetitive Task?: if it is a repetitive task, you will save time and energy by delegating it in the long run.
- Does the Task Provide Opportunity to Grow?: if completing the task will help your team grow, it will help improve the skill set of your team in the long run.
- Is There Enough Time to Delegate Successfully?: If you can not properly explain the task and guide your employee, it is better to not delegate.
- Can You Bear With If the Task Fails?: if the answer is no, then it is better to wait and only delegate if you can bear with a potential loss or failure.
To Whom Should You Delegate?
1) Experience of the Individual
The more experienced individuals in the firm should be handed more responsibility. This ensures that there are minimum losses and that the task is completed within time and adequately.
2) Individuals Preferred Work Style
If the task requires individual expertise, delegate it to someone who likes to work on their own and does not need team support. However, if the task requires teamwork, make sure to delegate it to someone with good people skills; someone who can ask for assistance when need be.
3) Current Workload of the Person
If your workers are already overworked and are facing burnout, any task you delegate to them is bound to fail. Make sure your employees have enough time and energy on their hands, so they can put their heart and soul into the project.
Learn Successful Delegation with Best Diplomats
Best diplomats teaches you to become a better diplomat, a better leader, and a skillful delegate. Its conferences allow you to work in teams and encourage you to share responsibility with other team members. This ensures that people feel comfortable in delegating tasks and learn the importance of working in teams.
Not just that, but Best Diplomats also help individuals navigate difficult situations and master the art of diplomacy. By building stronger relationships, you can enhance your networks and better engage with people from all walks of life.
Earlier, it was believed that when leaders delegate tasks, they weaken their position and open themselves up to ridicule. Now, data indicates that leaders that delegate tasks become more popular and successful. They can delegate everyday tasks to others while focusing on the complex tasks themselves. This helps prevent burnout and makes them focus all their energy on the important stuff.
What are The 5 Principles of Effective Delegation?
The five main principles of effective delegation include
1) The right task: know which project is worth delegating.
2) The right circumstance: make sure you have enough time to explain the task and set clear expectations.
3) The right person: the person receiving the additional responsibility should be qualified and experienced.
4) Right supervision: leaders need to act as good mentors and coaches and give help when needed.
5) Right communication: this comes in handy when employees experience difficulties
What are Delegation Skills?
Delegation skills refer to a leader’s ability to assign responsibilities and tasks to team members. This is done to share the burden and ensure a common goal is achieved. Additionally, leaders do this to empower their employees and make them more independent.
What are The 3 Steps of Delegation?
The three steps of the delegation are
1) The responsibility is assigned to the said person
2) The said person is authorized to complete the task
3) The said person is held accountable for the completion of the task
How Can You Learn Delegation?
Like all other skills, delegation also requires practice. One has to go through trial and error before one can perfect the skill. Inclusive and transformative leaders are the best when it comes to empowering others and giving them the confidence and trust to shine.