You don’t have to do everything.
When you realise that vital life lesson, it can be pretty transformative. In fact, it’ll give you back time which you were previously devoting to tasks and projects which you simply didn’t need to undertake.
If you’ve fallen into the anti-delegation trap, you shouldn’t feel bad – it’s incredibly common and is a result of wanting to retain control. That’s no bad thing in some circumstances, but when it creeps into your ability to be productive and efficient at the stuff that you should be doing, you’re in trouble.
Welcome to our ultimate delegation guide. It’s perfect for busy sales people, marketing managers, creatives and freelancers.
What Is the Meaning of Delegation?
Delegation is a very specific skill, but it’s easily misused.
Let’s think about two scenarios.
Scenario A sees you struggling with a project you really don’t have much love for. It’s completely in your wheelhouse and demands your skills more than anyone else’s in the business, but you just don’t care enough about it.
So, you decide to palm it off. You’ve got more exciting things to be working on elsewhere. You, therefore, pick your ‘victim’ and hand it over to them with a half-hearted explanation of what needs doing. Job done – it’s off your desk.
Scenario B sees you struggling to find time to undertake the invoicing run. This isn’t your job as the marketing manager but you’ve always done it since the company launched. However, it takes up about three hours of your time each week and you could definitely put that time to better use.
So, you hire an accounts expert and leave it to them. That results in three hours you can reclaim and spend elsewhere.
Which scenario do you think is effective, strategic delegation? Hint: it’s Scenario B.
How To Delegate Tasks To Employees
Delegating tasks to employees and team members isn’t as simple as giving them a list of things you want them to do and leaving them to it.
Firstly, you need to assess who would be best for the delegation. The job in question will need to be undertaken effectively and in a timely fashion, therefore you’ll need someone with the skills to do it, or someone who is a fast learner.
Once you’ve identified that person, the handover process needs to be as water tight as possible. We’ve all been in that horrible position where we’re given a piece of work with a very limited brief. Don’t be that kind of delegator.
Instead, scheduled a meeting with the person you’re handing the work to and go prepared. Give them the background of the task, where you’re struggling with it and the intended goal. Then, make it clear your door is always open if they need help with it.
Lastly, make sure you schedule regular check-ins with that person to ensure they’re getting on ok. You still need sight of that project or task after all, and that sits at the heart of effective delegation.
Delegation in management
This is one of the hardest forms of delegation, because it involves handing tasks over to senior people or those who are on a level pegging with you.
That shouldn’t be an issue, but egos can be knocked if you go about delegation in management the wrong way.
The good news is that you can pretty much follow our advice above. The tasks will likely hold more responsibility, but that simply means you’ll need to focus intently.
Examples of Delegation in the Workplace
The great thing about delegation is that it’s relevant in every single industry.
Here are some examples of delegation in the workplace:
- Full delegation – this is when repetitive or recurring tasks are given to people more suited to deal with them and are taken on wholesale by that person.
- Partial delegation – this is when a task or project can be broken up into mini-stages or sub-projects, and those smaller chunks given to different people, thus removing the onus to do it all from one person.
- External delegation – if you have something which absolutely needs to be delegated but you don’t have the talent or time for it in-house, there’s nothing wrong with hiring a freelancer or agency to do it for you, but you will need great communication.
- Creative delegation – this is the process of delegating tasks which require innovation. The thinking is that the more people you involve, the more creative input you’ll get from across the board.
Why is it important to delegate duties and responsibilities?
If you undertake everything yourself, a few things will happen:
- You’ll run out of time each day.
- Your most important tasks won’t get touched.
- You’ll become more stressed and unhappy with your job.
- The output of your work will suffer.
- Customers will become frustrated.
- Your colleagues will become frustrated at your lack of progress.
Not a pretty picture, is it?
This is why delegation is so important in business. And it doesn’t just relate to tasks or projects either, you should delegate responsibilities when necessary too.
Your mental health, ability to grow the business and overall enjoyment of your job relies heavily on the ability to delegate the stuff you shouldn’t be doing. It’s one of the greatest skills you can have in your arsenal.
What Are the Positive Effects of Delegating Tasks?
There are so many positives to delegating tasks.
You’ll regain time you lose, which can be invested into things which truly move the business forward. That means, at the same time, you’ll be undertaking work which you should be undertaking.
What are the principles of delegation? It’s simple:
- Determine what you need to delegate.
- Choose the right person to delegate the task to.
- Clarify the goal of the task or project.
- Clearly define the responsibility it comes with.
- Establish follow-up meetings thereafter.
If you’re asking ‘how can I improve my delegation skills?’, you simply need to focus on those principles.
Delegation is a hard skill to master because it involves giving up control and putting your full trust in other people.
However, if you work through our guide and make delegation something you believe wholeheartedly in, the gains you’ll receive in terms of reclaimed time will make a huge difference to your own productivity and success.