When you started your company, you probably wore many different hats. You put in long hours and learned to fill a variety of roles. As your company grew, you hired employees, but perhaps you haven’t learned how to delegate to them.
Some leaders believe that they need to do all of the important work themselves, which leads to frustration and burnout. In this post, we will explore how to delegate effectively, so you can grow your company and get more done.
Choose The Right Delegate
Leaders need time to strategize and plan for the future. That means more routine work should typically be handled by another employee. While some tasks can be outsourced to technology, most responsibilities require someone to manage them.
Choosing the right person will help ensure the task is completed successfully. Consider these factors when selecting a delegate:
- Sufficient skills and experience. While the right employee can grow their skill sets, it is helpful to choose someone who has a background in the work you’re delegating. Look for someone who is up for the challenge.
- An appropriate level in your company. As a leader in your organization, you could ask any of your employees to take on new responsibilities, but you would be wise to assign work at the appropriate level. A manager will likely bristle at being asked to do data entry, while an intern lacks the seniority to effectively lead a project.
- Strong communication skills. For more complex tasks, look for someone who won’t hesitate to ask questions. Delegation often involves a transition rather than a simple handing off of tasks. Choose a delegate who will stay in touch with you and ensure the job is done right.
- Reliability and a desire to grow. Consider the current performance of potential delegates. If someone isn’t consistent and dependable now, you probably shouldn’t assign that employee additional responsibilities. Ideally, the person you select should be able to develop their skills by taking on the task. Try to choose someone whose professional goals align with this new responsibility.
- Adequate time and resources. On the other hand, avoid assigning too much work to the same person just because they do an excellent job. Your delegate needs to have the time and attention to take on these new responsibilities without neglecting their current duties. You should also ensure that the person you choose has access to any tools or resources they may need.
Create A Smooth Transition
Learning new responsibilities will require your employees to grow and adapt. During this transition, you will also need to change the way you approach your role as a leader. Here are some tips on how to delegate in a way that makes the shift easier for everyone.
- Incorporate delegation into your growth plan. Empowering your staff to take on new responsibilities and grow professionally is an important part of employee development and retention. When you evaluate your team’s performance, look for opportunities that enable your employees develop new skills and prepare for advancement.
- Provide all of the pertinent details. Before you shift a responsibility, take the time to outline exactly what that task entails. Describe the steps you take, other people who are involved, any contingencies that may arise and the desired outcome.
- Walk them through it. To ensure your delegate understands how to be successful, set aside the time to walk them through the task. Arrange for them to have access to all of the necessary information and resources before you step away. For critical responsibilities, such as leading client presentations, you may want to consider shadowing your delegate the first time so you can be available if needed.
- Take it slow. While you many have several responsibilities you would like to shift, be careful not to delegate too much or too quickly. Each delegate may have questions or need support to learn the task. Avoid delegating several important responsibilities at once so that your team has ample opportunity to adjust to the transition.
- Give your employees time and space. Each delegate will need to figure out how to handle their new responsibilities in their own way. While your process may have worked well for you, they may want to do things a little differently. Be patient with your delegates, and try not to micromanage their work.
Follow Up To Ensure They Are Successful
After you have transitioned a responsibility to someone else on your team, you may think that your involvement is complete. However, you should proactively follow up to ensure everything is running smoothly.
- Check in with your delegate. After you shift work to an employee, you should follow up to ensure the task is being completed. You will find that it is much easier to resolve any issues if you identify them before there are any complaints.
- Provide timely feedback. Your employees want to feel recognized and appreciated. If your delegate is handling their new responsibilities well, let them know they are doing a good job. Frame any suggestions or critiques as constructive, forward-thinking feedback to maintain a positive tone.
- Evaluate and learn from your experience. As you begin to delegate more frequently, identify learning opportunities. You may find that some employees need additional training or that certain clients value a personal relationship with you. Always be open to ways to make your organization run smoother.
Remember that learning how to delegate effectively is a process. The way that you divvy up responsibilities should evolve alongside your company. By looking for new opportunities to develop your employees’ skills, you can ensure your organization continues to grow. If you are interested in learning more about how and why top leaders routinely delegate to their teams, click here to read our in-depth guide.
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