How to Delegate Tasks Effectively & Why It Matters?

Some people seem to accomplish so much in a given period of time. It almost feels like they’ve got more hours in a day than the rest of us. One of the reasons some people tend to accomplish more is that they have learned how to delegate effectively. That way, they can focus on the tasks where they would offer the most value. 

Even though knowing how to delegate effectively comes with time and is not as seamless as it may seem, it can be learned. Just like with any other skill, the more you practice, the easier it will be.

In order to help you start delegating tasks effectively, I’ve created this article where you’ll be able to learn what delegation is, which tasks can be delegated and how to delegate tasks effectively. 

So, let’s dig in.

What Does Delegating Tasks Mean?

Delegating tasks just means transferring an assignment to another person in your team. In other words, it means assigning tasks to your team members.

Now, many people see delegation as passing tasks onto other people, but delegation is far from that. It is a technique that leads to growth, productivity and efficiency of everyone involved.

Why is Delegating Tasks Important?

In addition to decreasing your workload, which is the most obvious and commonly thought of advantage of delegation, there are several additional benefits of delegating tasks which are much more valuable.

Assigning tasks to your team members keeps them engaged at work. In addition to that, it is a good way for them to learn new skills or further develop some existing ones. Finally, when you assign tasks to team members, you’re indirectly telling them that you trust them to do the work, which can be empowering and motivating for some people.

According to a Gallup study, CEOs who excel in delegating generate 33 percent higher revenue. These executives know they can’t accomplish everything alone and position their team to tackle tasks they’re confident they’ll achieve—in turn empowering employees, boosting morale, and increasing productivity.

Lauren Landry

In addition to the benefits that your team members enjoy, delegating tasks can be very beneficial to managers as well. First of all, when you delegate tasks, you’re freeing up your time to focus on the tasks where you can offer the most value. What is more, it allows you to learn new skills and grow as well, thus helping your team move forward and deliver better results.

How to Decide Which Tasks to Delegate?

It goes without saying that not all tasks can or should be delegated. Nevertheless, a great number of them can be passed on to other people. There are several reasons managers tend to avoid delegating, some of them being fear of letting go, thinking they can do it better or just not wanting to seem lazy because they keep passing tasks to other people. But, isn’t assigning tasks what managers do anyway (at least one aspect of their job)?! 

According to the career and business strategist Jenny Blake, you should conduct an audit of your tasks using the six T’s to determine which tasks you can delegate. Here’s what the T’s stand for.

  • Tiny: Small tasks that are easy to do but add up with time, such as registering for a conference, scheduling a meeting, etc.
  • Tiny: Small tasks that are easy to do but add up with time, such as registering for a conference, scheduling a meeting, etc.
  • Tedious: Tasks that are quite straightforward, need to be done manually, are repetitive, etc. can and should be delegated.
  • Time-consuming: Tasks that, although they may be important and even somewhat complex, are time-consuming and do not require you to do the initial 80% of research. You can easily step in when the task is 80% complete and give approval, oversight and/or direction on next steps.
  • Teachable: Tasks that can be taught – even though it may take more time for you to teach them, in the long run, you should be delegating those and providing enough resources for your team members to learn and execute them.
  • Terrible at: No one knows it all. If there’s something you’re not good at, you should delegate those tasks to someone with skills to perform the task at hand.
  • Time-sensitive: Tasks that are time-sensitive but compete with other priority tasks. Since you can’t duplicate yourself, you should delegate these tasks to others so that they can be done in parallel. You can always check the outcome and give feedback.

All the task types listed above can and should be delegated. So, take a moment to go through your tasks and do the audit. You’d be surprised at how much time you’ll have left to devote to other important tasks where you, and as a result of it, your team and/or project, will thrive. 

How to Delegate Tasks Effectively?

There are several steps you need to take in order to delegate tasks effectively. Please, keep in mind that this is not an extensive list of steps, but it offers a good starting point. 

Step 1 – Decide on the Tasks to Delegate

You can use Jenny’s six T’s process to decide on which tasks can be delegated. If you think that the audit is too much work for you, just take a look at your tasks and start with those you do on a regular basis but don’t really have to because they’re not a good use of your time or don’t provide any value for your growth and development.

Step 2 – Choose the Right Person for the Task

Think about your team members’ strengths and weaknesses and match tasks to their strengths. Nonetheless, there will be times when you’ll want to assign a task to a team member even though it’s not his or her strength at use if and only if the person will be able to learn and grow from the experience. So, be cautious when you do it, but don’t hesitate to try it because challenges help people grow.

Step 3 – Provide Clear Instructions and Deliverables

This one is quite straightforward, but make sure to provide as much detail as possible when you delegate tasks. Make sure to write down your expectations and deliverables so that the person knows when s/he has completed the task. 

A word of caution here: do not assume anything! You may think that some information goes without saying but there is no such thing when it comes to delegating tasks efficiently. So, write down anything and everything that comes to your mind and is related to the task.

Step 4 – Provide Learning Resources

If the task requires a team member to learn new skills, make sure to provide enough resources for the team member to be able to learn the task. If you’re the one who’s teaching the task, then make sure to set time aside for teaching and be available for questions.

Step 5 – Give and Ask for Constructive Feedback

Even though you’re not doing the task, you’ll probably have to approve the final version. So, allow yourself time to go over the task and provide constructive feedback. That doesn’t mean fixing everything you feel is wrong or not how you’d like it to be but it does mean explaining what’s good and what needs improvement and why.

On the other hand, seek feedback from your team members in order to improve your delegation skills. Ask them to provide details and reasoning in order for you to understand feedback correctly and act upon it when needed.

Step 6 – Give Credit Where Credit is Due

The more you thank and credit those you’ve delegated work to, the more likely it is they will want to help you on other projects in the future.

Lauren Landry

After you’ve delegated the task and it’s been completed, credit accordingly. Make sure that people know their help is appreciated and they’ve done a good job. Praise goes far and wide and can do wonders for productivity and motivation of your team.

Keep Learning and Growing

As I said at the beginning, the more you practice delegating tasks, the easier it will be. Learning how to delegate effectively will help you not only become a better manager, but also channel your growth in the right direction creating a thriving culture at work for everyone.

Feature image credits: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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