How Well Are You Delegating Tasks?

by | 2 minute read

Man­agers often feel over­whelmed by the num­ber of out­stand­ing projects on their to-do lists. An orga­nized and method­i­cal man­ag­er can put order into chaos by del­e­gat­ing tasks. First, they should devel­op a vision for what will be done and who will do it. Sec­ond, they need to pay atten­tion to the ‘moment of assign­ment.’

The Who of Delegation

At Three Star Lead­er­ship, Wal­ly Bock recent­ly dis­cussed his three vari­ables of del­e­ga­tion. His first vari­able cen­ters on peo­ple. Once you decide what must be done, think about the mem­bers of your team. Who has the capa­bil­i­ty to han­dle the work? Remem­ber to del­e­gate projects to team mem­bers who pos­sess the right skill sets and the right atti­tudes.

You also need to devel­op team mem­bers. Maybe you should give the project to a staffer who’s indi­cat­ed inter­est in try­ing some­thing new. If you hand the project to an inex­pe­ri­enced team mem­ber, be pre­pared to offer sup­port and encour­age­ment. This man­age­ment task will draw on your time and tal­ents. But if you're com­mit­ted to devel­op­ing team mem­ber skills, you must make the train­ing invest­ment.

The How of Delegation

The suc­cess of a del­e­gat­ed project comes down to how well you, the man­ag­er, give instruc­tions. In one train­ing ses­sion I attend­ed recent­ly, exec­u­tive coach, Jan Allen of Busi­ness of Peo­ple, encour­aged us to con­cen­trate on the 'moment of assign­ment.' Receiv­ing an assign­ment, from an employee’s per­spec­tive, resem­bles meet­ing some­one for the first time. You can make a pos­i­tive impres­sion, and build the employee’s excite­ment, by show­ing the right atti­tude. Stay pos­i­tive and upbeat. Explain that the project will help them grow.

When you assign the work, be spe­cif­ic. Keep your top-level instruc­tions brief. State the expect­ed out­come. If the project has mul­ti­ple parts, advise the employ­ee to write them down. Your goal is to make sure the employ­ee under­stands the task you’re del­e­gat­ing.

Suc­cess­ful del­e­ga­tion helps you get projects fin­ished on time and on bud­get. When you get it right, your employ­ees will devel­op con­fi­dence and skills. The orga­ni­za­tion ben­e­fits and your employ­ees will be loy­al to you and your orga­ni­za­tion.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice Pres­i­dent of Research for Sales­Fu­el. She holds a Mas­ters in Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ver­mont and over­sees a staff of researchers, writ­ers and con­tent providers for Sales­Fu­el. Pre­vi­ous­ly, she was co-owner of sev­er­al small busi­ness­es in the health care ser­vices sec­tor.