As a leader, one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your team is to delegate. Holding on to all tasks makes it harder for you to prioritize the right tasks and do your job of leading towards the company goals and objectives. It also keeps your valuable employees from expanding their knowledge and growth.
Delegating will take some work in the beginning, but if you put the hard work in now, you and your team will reap the rewards later.
There are many reasons why it may be hard for you to delegate. There is no shame in how you feel, but as with anything, a simple mindset shift can help you think about things differently.
There are many different ways to delegate, but in general these steps will help to get you going.
Define what needs to be delegated. Not all tasks are able to be delegated. Make a list of your tasks (including day-to-day tasks), then separate out the tasks that only you can do (i.e. performance reviews, tasks that require access that your employees don’t have, etc.). Look through the tasks that are left and look for tasks that another employee may be able to do better, and tasks that could teach another employee or grow their career. Those are the tasks that should be delegated.
Identify the team member that would be best for the job. Everyone of your employees has strengths and weaknesses. And everyone has goals they are working towards. Which tasks play to your employee’s strengths and fit into their goals? Which tasks could factor into your employee’s professional development or career goals? Most likely there is someone on your team that has the skillset needed or that would like to learn the skillset needed.
Communicate the task, goal and why the employee was selected. It will be important that you sit down with the employee to communicate why they were selected, what the task is, why it is important, and the desired outcome (quality, timeline, etc.). Talk about any metrics that will be used to measure the success of the project or task and decide on a deadline.
Encourage open communication through the duration of the task. Especially if this is a new skillset for the employee. Offer your support and be there if they have questions. Provide resources if needed. And most importantly, fight the urge to micromanage. This means that you will need to allow failure. Every leader knows that learning comes from failure. If you want your employee to do this task to the best of their ability, you will have to be patient and be ready for failure.
Offer Feedback. After the task is complete, offer feedback to your employee. Don’t be afraid to offer constructive criticism, but also offer praise. Don’t forget to ask your employee for feedback as well. Did you provide clear instructions? Did you provide adequate support? Is there anything you can do to better delegate net time?
Give Credit. The most important thing you can do during your delegation process is give credit where it’s due. The more you offer thanks and give credit to your employees, the more likely they will be to want to help on future tasks. You are also adding to your employees’ confidence in their own abilities and ability to learn.
The first few times you do this, it will be hard. But the more you do it, the easier it will get and the more it will be worth it. The better you become at aligning your employees with tasks that will help them grow, the more effective you will become as a leader.
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