Smart and productive leaders understand that one of their greatest assets is the team they have around them. By matching certain tasks with specific employee skill sets, leaders can free themselves up to accomplish their most important work.
This blog post is all about delegation. We’ll discuss the three main reasons why many business leaders under delegate, the top four benefits of delegation, and how to delegate the right way. Let’s get started!
Why Many Leaders Under Delegate
There are many reasons why managers fail to delegate properly; the most prominent of which being fear, misconceptions, and selfishness. Let’s explore each of these in greater detail now:
Many leaders completely buy in to the phrase, “If you want it done right, do it yourself.” While there is some merit to this line of thinking (there are certain tasks that should only be completed by management due to their experience and skill sets), it isn’t always an effective or sustainable business practice.
Often times this approach is rooted in fear. A leader is afraid that a task won’t be completed properly, therefore, she resolves to complete the project on her own. But too many projects accomplished in this way will inevitably lead to burnout. All because the leader was too afraid to ask for help.
Some leaders just have misconceptions regarding delegation. They mistakenly believe that delegating tasks will actually increase their workload. They figure that in the time it takes to explain the project to their employees, they could just complete it themselves. But for many tasks, this is simply untrue.
Delegation, when done correctly, can save management countless hours every week.
Finally, some leaders neglect to delegate due to selfishness. They want to receive the “glory” for all completed projects. They hope their “take on the world” attitude will lead to promotions and larger salaries.
A lack of delegation also shows a disinterest in team building. As a leader, your job requires more than simply completing project after project. You need to be developing the talent under you and preparing them for future success as well. That’s what great leaders do.
How can you develop your team if you don’t give them important tasks to work on? You can’t. Leaders who don’t delegate, whether they realize it or not, exhibit selfish behavior.
The good news is, whether your struggle to delegate is due to fear, misconceptions, or selfishness, you can improve. The rest of this blog will show you how.
The Benefits of Delegation
We’ve discussed the three main reasons why leaders don’t delegate. Now let’s talk about the benefits delegation will bring to your career.
Greater Individual Productivity
When you aren’t constantly bogged down by minor details and mundane jobs, you’ll be free to accomplish more of the tasks that really matter. High level assignments like business development, strategy sessions, and project management.
Not only that, but your work will be of a higher quality. When people are overworked and overwhelmed, their performance tends to dip; sometimes dramatically. Assignments are rushed, communications fall through the cracks, deadlines are missed.
Delegation isn’t about slacking off and transferring your responsibilities to your employees. It’s about honestly assessing your workload and giving yourself the time and brain space to complete the high-level leadership tasks you need to.
Increased Company Efficiency
When everyone at a company (leadership included) is able to completely focus on the tasks associated with their rank and experience, increased company efficiency is inevitable. Management can strategize for future success and individual employees can focus on their strengths. This in turn will make your business more attractive to future hires.
As a company leader, business efficiency starts with you. In order for it to be achieved, you have to learn how to delegate properly.
When you delegate tasks to your employees, they grow and develop their abilities. They learn new skills that make them more valuable to your company and become more versatile. Isn’t that what you want in team members?
It also boosts company morale. It shows employees that they’re trusted by management and gives them more ownership of their jobs. Studies show that engaged employees are more happy and productive.
And all you have to do is delegate the right tasks to them, freeing up your schedule in the process. Win!
Better Company Culture
All of the above mentioned benefits result in better company culture. When management is freed up to perform necessary tasks, the business runs more efficiently. When employees are involved in important projects, they work harder.
Delegating is about working as a team. When your workforce runs like a well-oiled machine where every individual plays a crucial role, company culture will skyrocket.
How to Delegate the Right Way
A delegation habit is one of the keys to leadership success. But there are right ways and wrong ways to delegate tasks. Let’s explore how to do it correctly with a simple four step system.
1. Identify Appropriate Tasks
First you need to identify the right tasks to delegate. Not everything on your plate should be passed off to other employees. And not every employee is suited for every task. You job as a company leader is to match delegation-worthy assignments with qualified individuals.
How do you know which tasks should be delegated? Honestly assess your workload and separate the jobs only you can complete from the more general assignments. Remember to not let fear, misconceptions, or selfishness cloud your judgement!
Once you’ve determined which tasks can be done by others, analyze the skill sets of each of your employees. Then simply match assignments with employee strengths.
For example, let’s pretend you’ve determined that writing the company blog is not a task that requires your attention. But Liz, a real go-getter, who just graduated college with a degree in English, has been looking for additional ways to contribute. Having her write blog posts could work out perfectly.
2. Communicate Clearly
After matching tasks to employees, you need to clearly communicate your expectations. Should team members complete assignments in a certain way? Do you have specific standards that need to be met for each project? Should they report to you or a different person in the company?
The more detail you’re able to give them in the beginning, the less chance there is of subpar work being turned in. This combined with the fact that you paired tasks with employee strengths should keep things progressing smoothly.
When possible, provide employees with task expectations via written document. Then they’ll always have something to refer back to while completing the project.
3. Give Necessary Authority
In order for your team members to complete your delegated tasks efficiently, they may need to receive some level of elevated authority. This could mean giving them access to specific programs or company data. You might also need to inform other employees of new project leaders.
Empowering your team with the necessary authorizations will help ensure their work is completed on time, to the required standards, and without major issues. Successful delegation depends on all three of these things.
4. Implement a Follow Up Strategy
Effective delegation isn’t a one-time event; it’s a process. You need to follow up with employees, mark their progress, and provide support if necessary. When the project is finished, we also suggest you assess the situation and try to learn from it.
Interview your employees. Ask them what went right, what went wrong, and their opinions on the whole operation. Did they feel adequately equipped and supported? Did they find your expectations reasonable? These are important questions to ask.
Not only will it help you improve your delegation efforts and make them more successful in the future, it will also make your employees feel valued. They’ll enjoy being an integral part of the process and having their opinions being taken seriously.
Your Turn to Delegate
There you have it; the benefits of delegating, why many leaders don’t (but really should), and how to do it effectively.
Remember, don’t succumb to under delegation due to fear, misconceptions, or selfishness. These reasons are only holding you back from becoming the leader you know you’re capable of being.
When delegating, follow our four step process: identify tasks, communicate clearly, give appropriate authority, and implement a follow up strategy. This will help ensure you save time rather than waste it. Good luck!– Jacob Thomas