The importance of delegating is well-researched and considered a known fact nowadays. Yet, many leaders and other authority figures struggle to hone in on the skill. Even when overworked and time-crunched, delegating doesn’t always come naturally.
Leaders can be hesitant to delegate for many reasons. Losing control over certain tasks can be a difficult obstacle to overcome. Trusting someone else to competently overtake a project is another stepping stone. Logistically speaking, training someone to do a specific job is sometimes more time-consuming than just handling it yourself.
Delegating has its challenges, but the responsibility is too important to side step or let intimidate you. Reckless delegating can be dangerous, but knowing some useful tips can help you sharpen your skill and minimize feelings of anxiety.
Learn What to Let Go
Choosing which tasks to keep and which to give up can be difficult, especially if you’re not used to delegating. Just with anything else, start small and go from there. Take a peek at your to-do list and identify which tasks can be accomplished by anyone. Simple, time-consuming projects are good ones to delegate. If a team member can complete the task just as effectively as you, then consider letting it go. Another reason to delegate would be if the task isn’t your specialty and falls in someone else’s wheelhouse.
Think of delegating as a helpful tool in time management. With each project you outsource, you’re freeing up your own time that can be spent on important projects requiring brain power, rather than completing mundane busy work.
Find the Right Person
Piggybacking off the idea of specialties and wheelhouses, strong leaders know their team members thoroughly enough to identify each individual’s strengths. Once you know which tasks you’re giving up, consider each team members’ skillset, preferences, and availability. Take all factors into account when delegating a task.
Include and Discuss Details
While the task you’re assigning may seem simple and straightforward, try to jot down a few important details for the team member to reference. Any preferences you have, assignment deadlines, or useful resources should be included. The more specific you explain the instructions, the less room for error.
When going over the assignment details, open up the conversation for the team member to ask questions or gain clarity before taking on the project.
Create Formal and Informal Communication
To prevent micromanaging, arrange check-in times that work for both you and the team member completing the task. The frequency of meetings will depend on the size and length of the project being assigned. By setting up meetings, you’re showing that you trust the individual to succeed on their own time, but you want to verify their progress with a couple checkpoints along the way. Arranged meeting times also create an opportunity for the team member to ask questions or run ideas by you.
Outside of scheduled meeting times, try not to reach out to the individual regarding the project unless completely necessary. One reason for hosting check-ins is so that you don’t micromanage and give feedback outside of the planned time. However, you are still a mentor and therefore should always be available to answer questions or offer support. Make sure to let team members know that your door is always open in the event they need assistance.
Delegating is a productive way to build trust in teams and manage time effectively. Sure, giving up control can be anxiety-provoking. Not every task or project you delegate will run smoothly or as planned. By viewing each bump in the road as a teaching moment, rather than an opportunity to regain control, team dynamics and trust will grow and flourish.
For more tips on delegating and building trust in the workplace, reach out to Knowted at firstname.lastname@example.org.