28 Feb The art of delegation (in six simple steps)
Delegation looks easy. Those who do it well make it seem like a piece of cake, but in reality, it involves more than meets the eye. Handing over the reins and passing work onto others is challenging and often unsuccessful.
We may be reluctant to attempt delegation in the first place because we think tasks won’t be completed to our standard, or because we fear those we delegate to won’t care about getting things right (as much as we do). Often, we notice our clients are worried about how their customers will react when things don’t come from them directly, when in reality, most are totally fine with it. In fact, delegating just 10% percent of your workload can grow your business by more than 20%. Here are six simple steps to delegation:
- Decide what to delegate
Perhaps the first stumbling block to delegation is figuring out which tasks to delegate in the first place – that in itself takes time and can put you off the process altogether. Take ten minutes out of your day to go through your to-do list. Then assess the value of what to delegate and what not to delegate, by considering the principle of the Six ‘T’s (Tiny, Tedious, Time-Consuming, Teachable, Terrible At, Time-Sensitive).
- Find the right person for the job
When delegating a task, consider the strengths and weaknesses of your team – this could be an internal staff member, or an outsourced resource such as Organised You. Understand their success on past assignments and ability to work under pressure in relation to your task. For instance, if you need to delegate something that requires strong collaboration, don’t delegate to someone who prefers working solo. Talking to your team about who might be the best fit, or perhaps has the most capacity at the time, is also a great way to find the right person whilst building trust and rapport.
- Provide clear instructions
Make sure whoever is taking on the task understands and agrees to the responsibility they are taking on beforehand. Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, suggests delegating results rather than methods. In other words, explain the goal or milestone you want them to achieve and let them tackle the task in their own way. Don’t look for perfection or for it to be undertaken exactly in your style. Instead, give your team the resources and training they need to be successful, and most importantly, the authority to succeed. For example, the ability to liaise with clients or the power to represent the department or company. As long as you obtain the result you want and have set clear expectations, the rest is fine. And if you’re outsourcing the work, you many find they already have the expertise required to complete the job with minimal or no training, saving you a great deal of time and cost.
- Have the right attitude
Rather than a hindrance, view delegating as an investment in your team and also your company culture. For internal staff particularly, provide them with reasons (i.e. context) for delegation, rather assigning tasks out of the blue. If you’re using an outsourced support team, you can cover all of this in the initial briefing session. “When you select people to delegate to, tell them why you chose them specifically and how you hope to see this help them grow,” says Alex Cavoulacos, founder of The Muse. “Help them see each delegated task as an opportunity to take on more responsibilities or grow new skills”.
- Provide feedback
There’s nothing worse than being delegated a task and receiving no acknowledgement or next steps. In view of this, whenever you delegate a task, make sure you provide the person with the feedback they need (positive and constructive) to grow in the future. Even outsourced services should be seen as an extension to your own team – the more feedback you give, the better the task will be completed going forward.
- Say thank you
Show genuine appreciation and point out things that were done well. When you highlight these specifics, you’re giving your team the tools to continue their success, leading to positive outcomes on their future work performance. Employee recognition helps retain valuable team members and harnesses a powerful effect on team spirit. According to global advice firm, Gallup, “regular feedback shows workers how they’re contributing to the organisation and that their contributions are valuable”.
At Organised You, we understand the struggle of delegation, but recognise the positive impact it can have. We hope these tips help, and if you ever need an extra pair of hands, feel free to delegate away – just get in touch and we’ll be happy to form an extension of your team!