How To Delegate Effectively
When you decide to delegate, you choose to give something to someone else. It can be power, responsibility, or an assignment. The practice of delegation can be an effective way of saving you time to perform other tasks or activities, allowing for a better balance of your life.
And for all you know, the other person may do a better job than you! Or the other person may come up with an easier way of doing something that you never even considered.
There are many excuses for choosing not to delegate. Some of the most commonly used reasons include:
- “I can do it better if I do it myself.”
- “If I want it done correctly the first time, I rather do it myself.”
- “No one is as capable or knowledgeable as me; I need to do it myself.”
- “It is a waste of my time to train someone on doing the task.”
- “There is no one qualified enough for me to delegate this task to.”
- “Everyone already has enough to do.”
- “I am the only one who knows how to do this.”
What if you assumed that some people would love to have added responsibilities? Don’t you sometimes feel honored when someone puts you in charge of a certain project? Doesn’t it feel empowering when your boss entrusts you with a very important task? Make the assumption that people want to learn; that they want more responsibility to foster personal growth. On the other hand, your tiny investment in training others means more time for you to tackle other tasks or enjoy free time with your family.
Delegation is most commonly found in the business environment. Approaching someone in a positive manner to assist you with a task, even if you are not the boss, can empower others and help you. It is all in how you approach people to help you. Have the right approach with the right tone of voice, and you can get anyone to assist you. Take the wrong approach, and forget about receiving help. You can also do this practice with household tasks.
How To Delegate Effectively Without Losing Control
Determining What to Delegate
Only delegate what you would do yourself. If you wouldn’t do the task or activity, don’t delegate it to someone else. There is more respect, when the other person knows it is something that you have done in the past, or would do. There are several examples of things that you can delegate both in the work environment and in the household:
- Research assignment
- Fact-finding assignments
- Preparing rough drafts of standard correspondence
- Preparing rough drafts of routine reports
- Data entry
- House cleaning
- Washing clothes
- Watching young children
- Washing the car
The lists are endless. In the work environment, it is also helpful to cross-train other employees so that the work can continue in your absence. It is not only beneficial to you, by not coming back to work with a mountain of assignments, but it is also advantageous to the employer. The work can continue regardless of who is out sick or on vacation.
Some business tasks that are commonly used in cross-training include: payroll, mail deliveries, software assistance, answering phones, accounting, and travel arrangements.
Remember, when you delegate a task, ensure that the directions for completion are clear. Investing time in clear communication can decrease the chance of the task being done incorrectly and having to be redone.
Delegation of a task does not take away your responsibility. Someone else may be assisting you, but it will still be your responsibility to ensure that the task is completed correctly and on time. It’s a learning process for all. It’s a new learning experience for one person, and it’s a managing experience for another.
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How to Delegate
Now that you know you can delegate things, how do you delegate?
- Delegate to different people. Avoid delegating to the same person all the time. Give others a chance.
- Give different people experience that they may want to expand their career options or personal growth.
- Have clear communication on the expectations of the delegated task. This includes what needs to be done and when it needs to be completed.
- Ensure that you give the person authority over the delegated project or task. This allows the person to feel a personal attachment to completing the task accurately.
- Have trust in the person you delegate the work to. Don’t hover over him or her, checking every detail. Let the person take charge of the task.
- Set small checkpoints for the person you delegated the task to. This will not only reassure you that the job is being done correctly, but this is an opportunity for you to give positive feedback.
- Check-in with the person that you delegated the task to. See how things are going, but don’t check-in to micromanage.
- There may be some errors that occur along the way. Be accepting of this as a learning experience.
- After giving clear instructions on the task at hand, always ask the person if they need anything to make the job easier.
- Once the task has been completed, always give appreciation.
Assignment ~ how to delegate effectively
Create a list of tasks that you can delegate to someone else. Under each task, list the following:
- Goal(s) • Who assigned to?
- Is asking for assistance realistic?
- Deadline for completion of task.
Take these tasks and begin the delegation. The need to delegate is always ongoing, as there are always things that need to be done, whether in the business world or at home. Delegating can be a great way to save time by completing other tasks or enjoying other activities. This is a win-win situation for all.