Tips on How to Delegate Effectively to Increase Productivity (and Professional Growth)
Updated: Dec 4, 2022
Delegation is the transfer of responsibility from one person to another. From a manager's perspective, the assignment of certain tasks by managers to other team members is called delegation.
Delegation allows team members to free up some time for more important tasks on their priority list and focus their energy on more complex tasks while keeping employees engaged in the process.
According to Jesse Sostrin at Harvard Business Review, managers must keep in mind that not every person is suited for a particular task. Before delegating a task, managers need to consider the following in order to transfer responsibility to the most appropriate person on the team.
Train yourself to let go
Sometimes the biggest challenge is letting go of power and control.
Putting someone in charge can be a difficult task for people who think they are doing all the work themselves. You should keep in mind that you are not the only one who can do the task with absolute accuracy.
You may be afraid that you will have to do the task yourself if the person does not deliver it on time or if it is not done up to your standards.
You should first find out the reason for your fear and then work to overcome it. Just trust your team members and be as clear as possible about what you expect them to do.
Choose a team member with the right skills.
Do not blindly assign a task to someone you think can do it.
Be strategic and see if the person has the skills to do the task, or if they can do it without help at that moment.
You should have an idea who is great at a particular task in your team. You may consider to break a task or project into smaller chunks and delegate accordingly among your colleagues.
Just check in regularly long before the project is due to make sure everyone in the tram in on track and it is executed as planned.
Inform them of your expectations
According to Risgaard and his fellow researchers, after you assign the task, you need to discuss what is expected and what you plan to accomplish after delegating the task.
Be as clear as possible when describing your expectations and let the team member know what the outcome should be.
Also discuss the deadline by which the work must be completed. Again, checking in along the way will ensure all team members to be at the same page.
If you are constantly overseeing the work you have delegated, you and the other person will be frustrated.
Avoid micromanaging because it will only add more work to your to-do list. Track progress, but do not tell the person what to do every step of the way, or the delegation will be pointless.
Further reading: How Micromanagement Inhibits Growth, Creativity and Productivity
Why managers tend NOT to delegate
Delegation is an important management skill, but most managers are reluctant to delegate important tasks to others.
Some of the main reasons why managers do not want to delegate their tasks are:
Managers might feel insecure that they will not be able to get the job done through subordinates. Even if subordinates do the work perfectly, the manager may feel insecure that someone else can also do the work and they could lose their power or position in the process.
The desire to get recognition
Most managers, especially who are newly promoted, want to be in the spotlight and receive recognition for their work. They prefer not to delegate the work because they think they might lose their chance to shine in front of their bosses.
They are not willing to take risks.
Delegating tasks to others means that mistakes or poor decisions may be made along the way. The result can either be rewarding or turned out to be the biggest mistake. Most managers shy away from delegating because they are unwilling to take risks.
Organizational culture is centralized.
Sometimes managers do not delegate important tasks because the culture of centralized decision making is deeply ingrained in the company culture.
Managers do not believe their subordinates are capable of doing the task or doubt their abilities. In such cultures, there is no pressure on managers to delegate tasks.
Fear of losing talented employees.
When managers delegate important tasks to skilled employees, they learn new things and begin to outshine. This gives them the confidence to take on important tasks and responsibility. These talented employees may leave the company for a better opportunity in the future, and managers lose a competent helping hand.
Further reading: 5 Tips on How to Prevent Burnout with the "Quiet Quitter" Tactics and Still Collect Your Paycheck
Benefits of delegation
Managers' role is to lead the team and make more strategic decisions, not to do all the work themselves. By delegating the task, they can increase productivity and employee confidence.
Some of the reasons that force managers to delegate are:
Delegating saves time and managers can complete more tasks in less time, which increases productivity and performance.
Better relationship with employees
Employees love managers who delegate. It gives them the opportunity to learn and grow and be a better version of themselves. They feel trusted and grow self confidence. It helps managers build a positive relationship with their employees based on trust and support.
Get rid of less important tasks.
You can get rid of less important tasks like scheduling meetings, sending emails, organizing events, filling in forms, etc. You cannot say that these tasks are not important, because every task has its place and value, but these tasks can be delegated to save time and space so that managers can take care of other tasks.
Benefits of delegation for personal development.
Delegating is also beneficial for personal development and growth.
Key benefits of delegating to employees include;
According to a study, delegating tasks creates learning opportunities for employees, which leads to higher job satisfaction and employee retention.
It increases employees' potential and helps them discover their hidden talents. When they are given a task they have never done before, it boosts their confidence and they stop doubting their abilities.
Delegation gives employees a sense of fulfillment and they feel that they are contributing to the growth of the company.
You must always remember that delegation is not about giving tasks you do not like to others or controlling everything after you have delegated the task.
If you really want to benefit from delegation, you need to assign the tasks and then trust your team members by giving them autonomy in making decisions and offering your support when needed.