As a manager, one of the more difficult challenges you’ll face is learning when to do something yourself and when to pass it off to an employee. Efficient and effective delegation, as it’s known, is what sets the successful apart from the average. Growing in this area will help you make strides in your career.
The Value of Delegation
American culture has engrained in us the importance and value of autonomy. Whether right or wrong, we’ve all been taught from a very young age that it’s best to take things into you own hands. Freedom is often the primary objective, even when it comes at the expense of productivity.
As a manager or business owner, you have a great deal of autonomy, but don’t let this blind you from the benefits of delegation. Whether you realize it or not, strategically delegating tasks and responsibilities is the mark of a truly successful leader. It yields a number of powerful benefits, including:
- Frees up your schedule. For starters, delegating tasks allows you to clear up your schedule and focus on other tasks and responsibilities. Considering that time is a finite resource, this is one of the more tangible benefits.
- Increases efficiency. When your team learns how to properly delegate tasks and absorb responsibility, the entire business machine runs more efficiently.
- Plays to everyone’s strengths. Each individual on your team – including yourself – has unique strengths and weaknesses. Delegation allows you to pass off tasks that would involve your weaknesses and assign them to someone else who has the right skills to handle them.
- Develops your team. The more you delegate responsibilities to other individuals on your team, the more skills they acquire. Delegation is actually an investment in human resource development. It’s the most organic and effective way to help your employees grow and improve.
- Creates trust. Finally, delegating a task to someone is essentially a way of saying, “I believe that you can handle the task better.” In this sense, it creates a culture of trust where individuals within your organization feel valued.
Delegation isn’t easy for someone who possesses a high level of autonomy and feels powerless in situations where others take control. However, as these benefits show, there’s supreme value in learning how to relinquish control and pass off responsibility to other capable individuals.
4 Tips for Better Delegation
Now that we’ve addressed the “why” behind delegation, let’s take a look at the “how.” Here are some tangible tips for better delegation within your organization.
- Understand Your Place
Before you can learn to delegate, you must understand your role as manager.
“As a manager, is your role to run around putting out fires and maintaining the status quo, or is your real responsibility to grow the business, increase customer satisfaction, and improve employee productivity? Consider how much of your time each day is spent actually working toward those larger goals,” TrackTime24’s Caroline Miech advises.
Once you understand how you fit into the big picture, it’ll become easier to quickly recognize which tasks are worth handling and which are best passed along.
- Identify Strengths and Weaknesses
Successful delegation requires you to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your team. When you have an intimate understanding of your employees’ skills, you can delegate with greater confidence and accuracy.
- Create Accountability
Delegating a task doesn’t mean you’re no longer responsible for the outcome. As Prialto explains, “You have to keep monitoring the progress and ask for regular updates. This helps ensure he/she is on the right track. And, you can also step in early if there are any errors or mistakes. Nipping it in the bud avoids wastage of time, energy, and resources.”
With that being said, there’s a distinct difference between holding someone accountable and micromanaging. Avoid the latter at all costs.
- Say Thank You
This last tip is the simplest and most straightforward. When you delegate a task and someone takes care of it, say thank you. Gratitude is a surprisingly powerful motivator.
Let Delegation Propel Your Career
As someone who is powerful, independent, and skilled at what you do, delegation can seem scary and intimidating. And while it won’t always work out the way you want it to, learning how to strategically offload responsibilities will help you and your team grow.