7 Steps to Delegating Effectively Without Hassle or Backlash
Delegating effectively is a common area that all leaders need to master.
When you ask why some leaders don’t delegate you usually hear comments such as:
“I have tried delegating before and it was a mess”
“If you really want to get something done, do it yourself”
“I can’t be bothered, delegating just takes too much time”
“Yes, I delegate, but the problem is, it comes back on my plate after they have messed things up!”
Delegation isn’t always easy—it can be tough to let go of control and trust others to do their jobs well, especially if you’re used to doing things on your own, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
With these seven steps, you will be able to delegate tasks with ease.
Importance of Delegation to Business Leaders
Delegation is an important skill for business leaders, especially CEOs.
However, for many business leaders, letting go of day-to-day tasks and responsibilities could be a rather difficult step.
Nonetheless, if done well, it allows CEOs to focus on the most important aspects of the organization while empowering team members to take ownership of their work.
This can lead to faster and better decision-making because it allows CEOs to tap into the talents and expertise of their team members who are also equipped to take on larger roles within the company.
In the process, business leaders are also able to create a more collaborative and productive workplace while simultaneously accomplishing more tasks in less time.
According to a study conducted by Gallup in “Delegating: A Huge Management Challenge for Entrepreneurs“, the difference in business performance is significant in an organization’s growth.
Out of the 143 Inc 500 CEOs, those with high delegator talent posted an average three-year growth rate of 1751%; 112 points higher than those who had limited or low delegation skills!
7 Steps to Effective Delegation
Before the Delegation
Step 1: What to Delegate
Before delegating tasks to others, it is important to stick to the principle, “Not all tasks are equal”.
There are some tasks that only you can do, and delegating them would not be effective.
Instead, you should focus on delegating tasks that others can do with at least 70% to 80% effectiveness.
This will ensure that the task is still done well whilst freeing up your time to focus on the more important things.
When deciding which tasks to delegate, also consider why you are delegating them. What are the benefits to you for delegating this particular task?
If the benefits don’t outweigh the cost, then it might not be worth delegating after all.
Step 2: Whom should I Delegate to?
As a leader, you cannot do everything yourself.
You have to delegate tasks to others in order to get things done and to develop the people around you.
Here are six reasons why you might delegate to someone:
They are better than you at the task.
If someone is better than you at a task, it makes sense to delegate it to them. This will free up your time to focus on other tasks and it will also help to ensure that the task is completed well.
They already are interested in the task.
If someone is already interested in a task, they are more likely to be motivated to work on it and to do a good job.
It will help them develop.
Delegating tasks can help others to develop their skills and knowledge. As they work on the task, they will learn new things and this can help them to progress in their career.
It’s a part of their job.
In some cases, delegating a task may be part of someone’s job description already. For example, if you are delegating a project to a team leader, they may be responsible for assigning tasks to team members and ensuring that the project is completed on time.
They have the time to work on it.
Before delegating a task, make sure that the person has the time to complete it. Otherwise, they may feel overwhelmed, and this could lead to poor quality work or even missed deadlines.
There is no one else.
Sometimes, there may simply be no one else who can do the task. In this case, delegation is essential in order to get the work done.
Step 3: What Level of Authority to Delegate:
The level of authority you delegate to someone should be based on that person’s competency and commitment to the task. The Center for Organizational Effectiveness created a progressive process for empowering people, covering six levels.
Level 1: Look into it. Report. I’ll decide what to do.
Level 2: Look into it. Report alternatives with pros and cons and your recommendation.
Level 3: Look into it. Let me know what you intend to do, but don’t do it unless I say yes.
Level 4: Look into it. Let me know what you intend to do and do it unless I say no.
Level 5: Take action. Let me know what you did.
Level 6: Take action. No further action is required.
Step 4: Be Clear on the Deliverables
Good communication is essential for effective delegation, so take the time to ensure that your expectations are crystal clear.
This means having a good understanding of what you are hoping to achieve with the task at hand.
What does “good” look like?
What is the outcome you are hoping to see? How much or how many?
What standard needs to be achieved? By when and how quickly? These are all important questions to answer before delegating a task.
By being clear on the deliverables, you can ensure that the person you are delegating to has a clear understanding of what is expected of them.
This will also help to avoid any confusion or frustration down the line.
During the Delegation Meeting
Step 5: The Delegation Discussion
When it comes to delegation, it’s important to have a discussion with the person you’re delegating the task to.
This not only prepares their mind for the upcoming task, but it also allows you to ensure that they’re the best person for the job.
When having this discussion, be sure to go over what the task is, why it’s important, and what the benefits are for both them and the company.
It’s also crucial that you ask them for their understanding of the task as well as clarity on the expectations placed upon them before moving forward.
Once they have agreed to take responsibility for the task and clarified that they understand the task at hand and that they agree on the level of support they’ll need, proceed.
Finally, agree on a check-in schedule so that you can monitor their progress and agree on the next steps to be taken.
By following these steps, you’ll be able to delegate tasks successfully and ensure that they’re completed in a timely and efficient manner.
After the Delegation Meeting
Step 6: Communicate Properly with the team
An important part of the delegation process is communication. Once you have delegated a task or responsibility to someone, it is important to communicate this to the relevant parties. This includes:
- Sending a written document outlining what was agreed upon
- Sending a message to those who need to know that the delegate is now responsible for this area and at what level they are authorized to act.
- Redirecting people who come to you with questions or issues related to the delegated task and sending them to the delegate so that they can deal with it at the appropriate level they are authorized.
Step 7: Make it Stick
The final step in effective delegation is to make it stick.
This means ensuring that the person you delegated to continues to perform the task to your standards.
To do this, you need to check in with them regularly and give specific positive reinforcement on what is going well.
If they are struggling, ask if they think there is any area they can still improve on, and only after that, give your suggestions.
It is also important to avoid taking back ownership if they push things back to you.
You need to trust that they can handle the task and let them continue to own it.
Even if it is something that you enjoy doing, decide to let go.
This will help build their confidence and, in turn, allow you to focus on other tasks. Delegation is only effective if you are willing to let go of control and give others a chance to succeed.
Although delegation may seem difficult at first, it is a necessary skill for any successful business owner or business leader. Practice these seven steps and you’ll be delegating like a pro in no time!
Which step do you think you do well?
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About the Author
Founder & CEO Business Leaders Coach