Delegation is the key to advancement. If you can’t find effective ways to move things off your plate and onto others’, you cannot advance. If you can’t delegate in a manner that leverages the talent of those around you, then you can’t advance. If you hoard tasks and responsibilities because you like them, have always done them, or are afraid to let go, then you cannot advance either. So here are seven strategies to delegate well:
- Be clear in identifying the desired outcome, including the deadline.
- Be clear with your original directions. Do not assume they can or will fill in the blanks.
- If necessary, make them write down key details. Sometimes people are too embarrassed to take the notes they will need an hour, day, or a week later.
- Ask them if they have any questions before they engage in the task. This saves both you and them time.
- Tell them they can come for help if necessary. But if they encounter a problem in execution, tell them not to bring you a problem only but at least one alternative to solve it. Otherwise, you create a dependent workplace culture where thinking for one’s self is not encouraged or required.
- Delegation frequently leads to mistakes. Analyze the mistake. Avoid blaming. Determine whether a mistake is someone else’s fault or your own. That’s right. Yours. If you did not help someone understand a task, timeline, technical aspects, or other vital information, how can you expect that person to succeed? If it is the employee’s mistake find out how it was made. Does he or she have a skill deficiency? Poor analytical or judgment skills? A lack of confidence? An inability to obtain the buy-in of others? Spend the time this time so that the problem is unlikely to occur next time.
- Praise accomplishment. Delegation has a payoff for you and them. You don’t have to do the tasks, and employees get ownership of a positive outcome. Let them know if they did well. For many people that is the best motivation for taking on more responsibilities next time.
For more resources on training leaders to delegate and prioritize click here.
Remember, delegation is the ladder of advancement for almost all of us. If we don’t let go of things we like to do, we won’t move on to things we need to do.