Whether you're the CEO, an office manager or a stay at home parent, delegation forms an important part of all of our lives and learning how to do it effectively can work wonders for both your relationships at work and your stress levels in life. The thing is it's not something a lot of us ever really get taught to do. Many of us just sort of find ourselves in situations where sharing out tasks effectively is key but don't necessarily have the know how to do so.
If you've recently taken on a new role in your life and your workload requires you to manage and share out tasks effectively to the team around you, ensuring that everything gets done correctly and on time then sit back for a moment and take in the advice below. You may find that putting even one of these points into practise will make a big difference to how you work and how you feel about an increasing workload.
HOW TO DELEGATE EFFECTIVELY
1. What actually needs doing? First off it's important to identify exactly what needs doing. The best way is usually to spare some time to sit down and organise your workload, prioritising the most important and time sensitive items and understanding deadlines and the resources required. For some more tips on organisation try reading this previous post - Organise Me.
2. What can be delegated to others? This is really one of the most key steps. There will always be some things that really only you can do, or things that maybe it makes the most sense for you to do as it will take longer to explain the process to someone else than it would to just get it done (although this shouldn't stop you from delegating such a task, sometimes time spent just once going through how to do something to a willing helper will save you much more time down the line especially if it's something that needs executing often).
It's at this point that you must leave your own ego at the door. Don't be too precious to pass on tasks because you think you're the only one that can do it correctly. You have to learn to trust others or you will find yourself constantly under undue pressure. It's also worth noting, as stated by Amanda Berry CEO of BAFTA, only do what you can do and let others around you do what they do best, they might be able to do it better than you! Don't be afraid to recognise this and let people take on what they can do well. Ultimately you should all be working towards the same outcome, the best possible result. You can read more tips from Amanda in this post here - Building Your Brand And Working Smart.
3. Communicate effectively. Once you have identified what needs doing and what you're going to delegate to those around you then effective communication and patience in sharing the details of what needs doing is incredibly important. Think clearly and make sure you're passing on all of the information and your expectations to the person you are entrusting with the task. Like I said this might take time first time around but if it's a task that needs completing regularly then it will be worth the initial investment. Communicate your expectations and very importantly your final deadlines exactly and clearly so that no-one is left unaware of what they need to do and by when.
4. Check in but not too often. Once you have completed all of the above it's time to step back and let the person get on with their task. Check in every now and again to ensure things are on track and to offer assistance or answer questions if needed but don't hinder. Trust is key at this point and if you have outlined what you need effectively then you should allow them to get on with the task at hand without them feeling they're being watched or checked up on too often.
5. Reward and credit where it's due. Once the tasks are complete, if all has gone to plan then be sure to reward and thank the person that is reporting to you correctly and effectively. If the task forms part of a larger project then always be fair and give credit where credit is due. Again leave your ego at the door, work as part of your team and make sure people understand their effort and support has been well received and appreciated. There is nothing worse than working really hard trying to help someone out to have them turn around and make out they did it all themselves - not good and not fair no matter who you are!
So there we have it, some ideas for getting yourself started on the delegation front. Most of all remember that working as part of a team and building great relationships with your colleagues, even as a Manager, is the most effective way of working and will ultimately be the most rewarding for all involved in the long term.
Happy delegating and best of luck!