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How to Successfully Delegate

Delegating tasks to your colleagues or team is not a sign of weakness. In fact, in most workplaces, delegation is a key step to gaining credibility in your job and for the higher ups to view you as a success.

But to be honest, delegating probably doesn’t come easy to you.

It doesn’t for a lot of people.

It’s hard to do and may not come naturally to you.

That’s because it takes a lot more time in the beginning to delegate than it does to take on the task yourself.

This is especially true if you’re the knowledge-holder. Passing on enough information to a team member to perform the same task could take twice as long as if you were to do the job.

However, the key here is knowing when to delegate  –  even if it’s more time consuming. If you need to free up time for higher-level tasks like creating strategies, then it’s time to learn how to delegate.

Benefits of delegating

You should be motivated to learn how to delegate because of two key reasons:

  1. Your reputation will flourish. Let’s say that your job is to come up with marketing strategies, but you just don’t have time to do so. If you delegate tasks (like creating a newsletter or writing an article) you’re currently doing that take away from your time to focus on strategy, you’ll have more time to come up with ideas, workflows and productivity hacks that will advance your team and department.
  2. You’ll develop your team. Letting your team members flourish will promote a healthy environment and prompt employees to stick around, but it also reflects well on you, too. So give away some of the tasks that you’re currently handling and let your team members fly.

Know when to let go of the reigns

Successfully delegating tasks involves knowing when to assign the job to someone else. Here are a few questions to help you get started:

  • Is the task something that ONLY you can do? Or is it essential that you perform it? For example, hiring personnel might be something that warrants your attention.
  • Does someone else have the skills to do the job?
  • Can a team member grow their skillset by doing the task?
  • Will this task come up again? Can you assign it to the same person each time?
  • Do you have the time to delegate the task, and guide the person who will be doing the job in the right direction  –  offering training, support, etc.?
  • Is there time to delegate? If the deadline for completion is fast approaching, there may not be enough time to train someone else to do the job.
  • What are your expectations? If the person taking on the task for the first time does a good-enough job, will that suffice? Would failure to complete the task satisfactorily be detrimental?

Match the right people to the right task

Once you know if you should delegate, the next step is identifying the right person for the job. Ask yourself these questions: Does the person have the skills and attitude to do the job? Is he independent enough to work alone? Does the project align with the person’s goals? Are the resources available to help this person? Does the team member have time to take on the project?

When passing off a project to an employee, make sure to select the best person for the task. Provide specific instructions and be patient. They make take longer to do the job initially, because it’s new. But with good leadership, guidance and training, you’ll successfully delegate and free up your time to continue to think strategically and find new ideas to improve your business results.