Delegation is a key tool in the effective management of people, time and resources. Here are my 10 quick tips for how to delegate (with links to more resources should you need them!)
How to delegate tip #1. Get Clear on Why Delegation is Important – to You
As you’re reading this article I’m guessing you want to delegate (or delegate more). Why is that?
Do you want to;
- Get the time and space to do the most important parts of the job really well. You do the work only you can do?
- Get your staff members take charge of some work which develops their ability and potential?
- Make the most effective use of the resources available to you?
Getting clear on your goals for delegation (and any of the goals above are very good goals) you’ll be much more likely to get started on the delegation process
How to delegate tip #2. Identify your ‘High Value Activities’
You now have a goal for delegation. But are you clear that the rewards of delegation outweigh the time and effort needed to delegate effectively? A great approach is to identify your ‘High Value Activities’. These are activities that – if only you had time to do them – would get you great results. Identifying these activities helps you, and your employees, see the real value of delegation. Read more, and see examples, in my blog ‘What is Delegation?’
How to delegate tip #3. Identify the Tasks
The first step in the delegation process is to identify the tasks that would be suitable for delegation. Look at all the tasks you currently undertake. Are there any you don’t have to do? Which of these tasks, if delegated, would gain you the most time? Be brutal here – just because you like doing a task, and you’re great at it, doesn’t mean you need to do it. See more on how to identify tasks at How to Delegate – Getting Started
How to delegate tip #4. Identify the Employee
Which employee is most suited to the task? Have any of your employees got;
- an interest in the task or
- a development need the task will help them meet or
- some spare time!?
Use some selection criteria such as those I outline in How to Delegate – Getting Started
How to delegate tip #5. Identify How Much of the Task to Delegate
You don’t have to delegate all of the task. Sometimes it’s easier and more effective to delegate part of a task (for example if your employee is not ready to take full responsibility but can do elements of it now and learn others later). As long as you are clear on exactly who is responsible for which elements of the task you won’t have a problem
How to delegate tip #6. Get Crystal Clear on What the Delegated Task Is
As with all effective management, clarity is everything. You need to be able to explain and agree with your employee what effective performance looks like for the delegated task. Think about using performance objective(s)
How to delegate tip #7. Sell the Delegation
How are you going to explain to your employee why you want to delegate the task to them? Is there a developmental need it will help them with? (No? That’s OK – not all delegated tasks can be developmental, just don’t be tempted to pretend they are if they aren’t!)
If you are delegating to gain time for your ‘High Value Activities’ simply explain what the High Value Activity is and how undertaking this activity will benefit the business and the employee (because all High Value Activities benefit the business in some way – and, consequently, benefit the employee). Read more on ‘selling delegation’ at How to Delegate – The Delegation Discussion
How to delegate tip #8. Agree coaching needs
Remember to Identify and agree the skills and knowledge needed to successfully complete the task. Assess together the employee’s current skills and knowledge and identify any gaps
How to delegate tip #9. Agree the monitoring of the task
Agree how you can best monitor the task and share feedback. Involve the team member – have them suggest what to report to you and when (read more on monitoring performance here)
How to delegate tip #10. Now Back Off!
Once you have decided to delegate a task, and agreed the monitoring and feedback, it’s time to back off and let your employee get on with it. Recognise that your employee may know a better way of doing something than you do and accept that there may be different ways of achieving a particular task. Be available for support and advice but don’t interfere
Summary: How to delegate
Delegation is an excellent management strategy. For many managers, though, it’s difficult to see where to start! So…
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