Delegation may seem simple, but there’s a fine art to doing it well. At its core, delegation entails assigning tasks to other people on your team to accomplish a goal. When done correctly, work gets more evenly distributed, employees feel more appreciated, and there’s less organizational burnout.
So, why is delegation so important, and how can we go about it in the “right” way?
Sharing Workload Effectively
Not every single task you do will require all of your brainpower, training, and skills. If you’re in a position where you have the opportunity to delegate, you’ve likely been working at your organization for a long time, or have prior experience in your field.
Junior members of your team will benefit from doing tasks that may not serve your learning any more. Giving them tasks outside their typical to-do list will allow them to learn a new skill, and give you more spare time!
An effective handoff usually involves showing or explaining how to do something once, and then trusting that your teammate will be competent enough to follow through.
Once they do complete the task successfully, you’ll build further trust in your relationship and open the door for more delegation in the future. Of course, it’s important not to just dump busywork onto your co-workers - their time is valuable! But spreading smaller tasks throughout your team frees up time for all of you, and allows more room for growth.
Don’t Eat All the Pie!
Listen, we get it. Sometimes it feels like if you don’t tackle something yourself, it won’t get done correctly. For many leaders, it’s tempting to “eat all the pie” instead of evenly distributing the workload.
Though you may wish you had more than 24 hours in the day to just do everything yourself, it’s simply impossible. Once organizations start growing and taking on more workload, it’s crucial that you learn to delegate some tasks that don’t require your full expertise.
Trust is key here. It’s hard to let go of responsibilities sometimes, but keep in mind that delegation will only help you have more time to tackle bigger tasks at hand. Allowing others to take on some of these tasks allows you to take on projects that require more in-depth analysis on your end.
Benefits of Diversity
Beyond saving your own brain from burnout, delegation brings fresh and diverse perspectives. Having multiple brains on the job ensures that you’re looking at a task through many different lenses. If you’ve been working on a project for months or even years, it could be enlightening to see how somebody else handles it.
Think about how productive brainstorming sessions are. Often, two brains are better than one, so if you’re able to have someone else help with a task you might see that they approached it differently than you would have, and learn a lot!
Delegation in Action
So, what are some steps you can take to put your delegation in action?
- Determine which tasks don’t require your full experience/training
- Identify which employee is right for the job
- Provide instructions on how to do the task – you may need to explain it more thoroughly the first time around to ensure your employee understands, but this will save time in the long run!
- Be clear about deadlines, and stick to them
- Check in and offer support if needed.
- Understand that not everyone will go about things the same way as you, but that doesn’t mean they’re wrong! Try to appreciate and be open to new approaches and perspectives.
- Once the task is complete, evaluate and give feedback.
Delegation is an effective way to mitigate stress and allow growth for other employees. While it may take a couple tries to get the hang of it, it's a useful tool for any organizational leader. We hope you’ll take these tips and apply them towards a new goal that your team needs to tackle!