Delegating occurs when managers choose to assign their own tasks to other employees. While this does reduce the stress of an over-worked manager, the main benefit lies in the sense of responsibility and respect felt by the employees that are asked to assist. Delegating tasks to capable employees is a win-win situation for all involved.
The first step in successful delegation is to carefully analyze the work tasks involved. It is important to determine the set of knowledge, skills, and abilities required for their successful completion, and to match the tasks to the appropriately qualified employee.
It is important that managers take the employees’ day-to-day workload into consideration when delegating additional tasks to ensure that workers do not become overloaded and experience burnout.
The second step in successful delegation is to clearly communicate all expectations regarding the methods used to complete the project and the anticipated final project. By asking for confirmation of understanding, managers can prevent possible difficulties in completing the tasks and ensure accountability. Setting periodic milestones dedicated to checking in and providing consistent and clear feedback can further the success of the project.
While it is important to have periodic check-ins and provide feedback, it is also important to allow employees to feel autonomous and trusted during the project. For clear-cut projects with easy to understand expectations, it may be best to forgo these progress reports and simply allow the employee to present the final project.
When the work is completed, it is critical that managers provide final performance feedback regarding the work process and final product. If the tasks were completed successfully, then offer praise and positive feedback. If there are aspects that could have been improved, this should be communicated in a respectful and constructive manner.
For more complex projects, it may be necessary to delegate to a team of skilled workers. In these instances, effective managers can work to build the leadership skills of their top talent by delegating leadership itself. When a manager hands off a large project to a newly developed team with an appointed team leader, they are provided with an opportunity to sit back and analyze the success of each employee and the team as a whole.
While many tasks do lend themselves nicely to delegation, there will be times when managers simply must complete tasks themselves. When work has been delegated to a manager from a superior, further delegation increases the risk of the ball being dropped and the project being either left incomplete or done incorrectly. Additionally, tasks that require a degree of privacy should be left to management. Providing performance feedback, administering disciplinary actions, or handling crisis situations should left to experienced members of the management team.
In the end, the use of delegation is a work tool can help managers to successfully complete their own work tasks and to develop the skills of their employees. By integrating delegation into their management style, leaders will soon find that their teams are more efficient and productive during work hours, and are able to achieve a better balance between the needs of each individual and the team as a whole. Trusting in workers to complete tasks above their job station will continue to build their self-esteem and loyalty to the organization, while ensuring that management has the time to strategically tackle other important tasks.
Head of Training and Development