How to Delegate Effectively: 3 Way to Delegate More & Worry Less

Key Takeaways
The ability to delegate work to employees is critical to your agency's success. Learn how to delegate duties effectively and worry-free today!
how to delegate - team members discuss together

The hallmark of a great leader is how effortlessly and effectively they practice delegation of duties, and there truly is an art and science to delegation. The ability to delegate is crucial to the success of any team as it leads to enhanced collaboration and greater participation from team members. So, how to delegate effectively should be a skill that organizations should consciously promote.

Before we get to the most practical and proven ways of delegation of duties, it’s important to understand the concept, why it’s important, and what usually stands in the way of its implementation.

What is delegation?

Delegation is the transferring of responsibilities from a manager or leader to their team members. It’s important to understand that individuals who know how to delegate the right tasks with ease do it with specificity.

The employees should know the scope of delegated work, the resources they would need for its completion, and the timeframe in which they have to execute it.

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Why is delegation of duties important?

The question should be, “how is it not important?” Delegating and assigning tasks effectively to team members is arguably the most important piece to being a great leader.

Not to mention that it sets you up amazingly in creating stunning processes for your business!

The  effective delegation process produces higher involvement

Greater participation leads to innovation. When a manager knows how to delegate work to employees, they’re ensuring that their team members will participate in the process. Involvement is key to employees taking initiatives in problem-solving.

Employee empowerment

When a leader delegates responsibilities, they’re also showing their trust in their team members. This empowers employees to put their best foot forward. Autonomy is a function of empowerment and autonomous employees think outside the box to come up with solutions.

One of the most effective statements a leader or entrepreneur can ever make is “I trust you.” That will encourage team members to put in their best and deliver on time.

Delegating tasks improves communication

Delegation when done well will improve the level of intra-team communication. That’s because the manager will have to convey the importance of the delegated task and what’s expected of the team members.

Increases productivity

With greater participation and better communication, the outcomes will be favorable. For team members, every project becomes an opportunity to prove their talent. Under specific directions, employees will understand the problem better, which will increase the overall productivity. This also ensures that you work on high-priority tasks while other team members work on other meaningful and challenging assignments.

Revenue can increase by almost 33 percent when leaders delegate responsibility, per a Gallup study. Although this isn’t gonna happen overnight, it’s definitely worth the trouble and the effort. It’ll eventually be good for your employees and your business.

Promotes meritocracy

A company where the delegation of duties happens seamlessly and routinely will also be a company that believes in and promotes merit. This is also the kind of company that will find it easier to attract and retain talent.

The number of projects an employee is involved in will tell them how much the company trusts them and wants them to stay in the system.

Enhances learning

The more projects and specific tasks they’re involved in, the more the employees will learn. That becomes a virtuous cycle as with every project, their capabilities and confidence will grow.

Delegation of duty frees up leaders

As an entrepreneur or team leader, being constantly busy doesn’t mean you’re being productive. Being involved in everything may have served you earlier but your current position doesn’t require you to be in hands-on mode all the time.

So, it’s time to roll up your pants and dust off those delegation skills!

When you involve your employees and delegate duties effectively, you’re not only ensuring their participation and boosting their morale but also freeing up your time. Now you can focus on the big picture: being a good leader.

That’s where your expertise and experience are needed now.

Better work-life balance

We live in a culture where 90-hour weeks are considered to be the essential grind necessary for success. This overlooks the toll it takes on the personal lives of managers and entrepreneurs and overall job satisfaction. When you learn how to delegate efficiently, you will also be able to schedule time for your family and friends.

Instead of staying late and working weekends, now you’re reducing the number of tasks on your own work plate. Redistributing work means you can take that much-needed breather. These small but important steps are important for the holistic growth of leaders.

Why managers don’t delegate

I mean, most of us don’t like telling others what to do, right? It’s totally normal!

Even with the considerable advantages of delegation of duties, not many leaders practice it. There are several reasons why managers who are otherwise excellent at what they do, fail to delegate properly.

They think it shows their weakness

Some managers believe that those who delegate tasks are the ones who can’t do it effectively. So, they desist from delegation because they don’t want to come across as inefficient. They also fear that the system might misinterpret their delegation of duties as a sign that they’re incapable of performing it themselves.

What they fail to see is that delegation is another word for offering someone else a chance to work on a project and learn. Yay for professional development!

That’s one of the key responsibilities of a manager and those who don’t delegate are curtailing the growth potential of others. So, delegation reflects a leader’s strength and effective leadership, not their inability.

They want to stay in control

One of the common reasons many managers don’t delegate is that they fear a loss of control. Entrepreneurs might feel that since they’ve been doing it all along, they’re the ones better equipped to handle the responsibilities rather than assign tasks to others. If someone else were to do it, the quality might suffer, or so they feel.

This is how leaders create unproductive and self-centric cultures because the refusal to delegate is another way of saying that the manager doesn’t trust other members of the team to maintain control of the delegated tasks.

They don’t know who to delegate to

Sometimes, the manager doesn’t share duties because they don’t know who can perform the delegated tasks on their team. This ignorance reflects an acute lack of communication, among other things. Those managers who don’t know who to assign the responsibilities to may not recognize a vicious cycle of poor team management.

Unless you start delegating effectively, you wouldn’t know who is capable of doing it. Once the feedback loop kicks in, you would have a better assessment of your team members’ skill sets, which will help you delegate more productively later on.

They believe it would take more time

Usually, leaders believe that they know how to do a task within the given timeframe because they’ve been doing it for a long time. While all organizations may have such managers, startups are most likely to have leaders who think they can do it faster and better than others.

What they don’t realize is that as the startup begins to scale, they will have to focus on larger objectives and bigger problems. Plus, a delegation of duties reduces workloads for everyone and optimizes for freedom.

They’re too involved in some projects to delegate tasks effectively

Perhaps it’s something that comes naturally to you or the task is for a client that you have partnered with for a long time. You don’t want to let anyone else work on it because you’ve always loved doing it. So, you’re hesitant to involve others.

While it’s understandable, it’s good to remember that as more people get involved and become proficient, the better the product or service quality will be. It’s also an opportunity to guide others in doing something that you’re good at.

3 Ways to Delegate More and Worry Less

employees in a meeting

It should be clear by now that delegation of duties benefits managers, their team members, and the organization. To help you become a better leader and entrepreneur, here are three ways to delegate more effectively (and become the effective leader you were born to be!)

1. Be specific

The first rule you should keep in mind while delegating is to be specific. You should know whether the task can be delegated, who’s the right person to handle it, and a timeframe for its completion.

The task: The project you delegate should be one that doesn’t require your specific involvement or decisions. All other tasks can be delegated to your employees.

Their experience shouldn’t be a hindrance to delegation if it’s a non-core activity. Even if they have never done anything on that scale, remember that they will have to start somewhere. What’s important is to define the scope task, both verbally and in writing.

The personnel: You should choose the individual(s) based on their aptitude, skill sets, and availability. Ask them whether they have done something similar at their current position or in any of their previous roles.

If they haven’t, it’s a manager’s responsibility to encourage them to take on the project. Always frame it as an opportunity to learn or enhance their new skills. Remember to be meritocratic about who you choose and be transparent about it with others. Showing confidence and support will in turn improve their self-confidence and efficiency on the next delegated task.

The timeframe: Sharing a viable timeline is crucial to the successful delegation of duties. Leaders should give not just a deadline but a timeframe that includes reviews and desired outcome should be made clear. You should ensure that your team members will have time to incorporate your suggestions. The last thing you want is to limit the time an employee might need to incorporate the changes you suggest.

Remember that you may be able to complete it faster because you would have been doing it for a while. Anyone attempting it for the first time would require more time. This is why it’s important not to delay delegating tasks until the last moment. Also, keep in mind that they might also be forced to engage in other routine tasks at the company.

2. Provide training, guidance, and authority

Knowing how to delegate a job effectively is also about knowing the kind of resources your team would need and then giving them the autonomy to do it.

Training: As a leader, you should know about your employees’ skill sets and levels of expertise. It’s important to ensure that projects are aligned with individuals with matching proficiency. If there is a deficit, they should be given adequate training.

Instead of waiting for the delegation of duties to start training, managers should engage in it proactively. Leaders can tailor the training to empower employees with the necessary skills for both existing and future projects.

Guidance: Your ability to delegate will depend on how well you can guide your associates. But some managers can’t resist getting overtly involved even after they delegate the task. This is intrusive and shows a lack of trust.

After you ensure that they have the required skills to execute the task, you should guide them on the best practices regarding the project. But don’t force them to do it the way you would have done. Let each individual figure out their paths.

Authority: Employees would naturally feel stifled working under an overbearing leader who micromanages all aspects of their project. Any team member tasked with a project should have the necessary freedom to finish it.

They should have the authority to utilize any resources they might need for the task. Remember that lack of autonomy equals lack of trust. Sure they will make mistakes now and then, but the trust you give them now will bear the fruits later.

3. Give timely feedback and credit

What ensures the successful completion of a task and the proactive involvement from employees is giving feedback and credit where it’s due.

Feedback: Giving suggestions (and don’t forget to offer constructive criticism) is as important as giving them on time. Taking too long to review status updates will delay tasks and employees would rightly feel that they would be blamed for the manager’s mistakes.

Credit: Entrepreneurs should appreciate the efforts that employees put in. A better way to acknowledge them would be to celebrate them publicly. That would inspire others to volunteer for tasks and boost the morale of the organization.

There you have it! That’s How to Delegate Work to Employees Effectively

Delegation of duties is important because it brings demonstrable advantages to the team and the organization. For a business to be cohesive and robust, there should be shared responsibilities and greater participation.

The success of any team or organization will depend to a great extent on its leaders’ ability to delegate responsibilities. So, go on your way and start to delegate more in see the fruits and benefits of delegation.

Business operations consultant Juliana Marulanda
Juliana Marulanda - ScaleTime Founder
Juliana Marulanda is a business operations expert, speaker, and the founder of ScaleTime. With over 20 years of experience across Wall Street, the non-profit sector, technology startups, and family-owned businesses, she now helps service-based businesses.
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