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Delegating Tips, Even If No One Works For You

My Dad used to say, “Decide. Delegate. And disappear.”

Delegation is an important component of most leadership roles. But you must understand that delegating the job doesn’t mean delegating the responsibility.  You are still responsible, even if you are getting someone else to do some of the work.

If you’re an entrepreneur, especially when you first start your business, you may need to wear multiple hats, dealing with everything from production to customer service and support. However, as your company evolves, you’ll quickly discover that it pays to have the right team.

If you are new to an organization, and you are not sure who can do what, delegation may be tough in the beginning.

If you are in an organization and no one reports to you, you may feel as though you must do it all yourself because there is no one else to delegate to.

Whether you have difficulty letting go of responsibilities or simply don’t know who to delegate to, delegation is a critical component for your success.

It’s easy to assume that only you can deliver the right outcomes.

However, studies by Harvard suggest that delegation can increase the overall performance of any organization.

Delegating empowers others in your organization to make the most of their skills. It’s also an opportunity to reduce some of the stress on you.

Don’t have anyone in the organization to delegate to? Hire a virtual assistant or a VA service for tasks that do not contain sensitive information, that others can do with minimal guidance, and that you are not good at doing.

I have a team of virtual assistants, and the tasks they get correspond to their abilities and compensation. I also use a VA service, which allows me to quickly outsource the one-off jobs that might be a distraction to my daily team activities.

When Should I Delegate?

Before you can learn how to delegate effectively, it’s important to know when it would be beneficial to share tasks with your employees. Not every task can be delegated, but more can be delegated than most overwhelmed people realize.

Yes, there will always be certain issues you’ll handle yourself. For instance, you can’t have your staff performing their own audits or performance reviews.

Hiring excellent talent means that you can delegate more of your tasks.

There are also some tasks in your day-to-day activities that can be automated with tech or computer tools, meaning that human delegation isn’t necessary.

The most obvious activities to delegate are when:

  • You simply don’t have the right talent or skill to handle a task on your own.
  • Someone else at the organization is better equipped for the task in question.
  • Someone else outside of the organization is better equipped for the task in question.
  • You don’t have enough time to handle all the tasks in front of you.
  • Other priorities are rising to the surface, and you need to restructure your time.

How Do I Delegate?

Delegating isn’t something that always comes naturally to a leader. That’s why you need a plan!

Use these strategies:

Know your employees and their superpowers. Every employee has specific skills and talents that make them better suited to certain challenges. Your staff might even have skills they want to learn, and competencies that they want to accomplish. Delegating tasks to them can help them to achieve those goals.

● For instance, if your employee wants to develop their leadership skills, and they’re well-versed in finances, you could have them lead an internal audit with the help of your team.

● Great delegation starts with knowing your employees and understanding how to leverage their skills.

Define desired outcomes. The projects you give to others should come with directions.

When using an online service to outsource materials I realized that I had made 2 typos that changed the words, and therefore confused the person I was trying to task. Provide complete instructions with plenty of context, and make sure you are understood. You need to be really clear about the objectives you want to accomplish in order to get the right results.

● Know exactly what you want your people to achieve before you assign them the jobs and ensure that they’re clear on their goals too. Mapping out clear expectations can save you a lot of time and money.

Provide the right resources. If the person you’re delegating your work to needs help to get the task done, ensure that they get it. Sometimes your employees will require specific training, authority, or resources to get through the assigned project.

● Remove any red-tape or hurdles in advance.

● Giving your employees all the resources that they need initially also means that you can fight the urge to micromanage.

● Trust that the employee has everything they need to be successful in their task. Then, step back as much as you can.

Establish channels of communication. It’s important to have a system in place that encourages positive input and feedback when your team members have questions.

● Think about the most effective modes of communication you have in your business, from video conferencing to instant chat. Setting up regular communication strategies will save you a lot of time and effort.

Allow for failure and reward success. Finally, avoid delegating with the assumption that your team members are going to fail. Be confident in their skills and abilities, as this will help you to avoid micromanaging. However, do keep in mind that things might not go exactly according to plan.

● Recognize mistakes and use them as an opportunity to give useful feedback for the future. You might even learn that you need to give better briefs or be clearer about your requests when you’re sharing information with staff.

● When delegation goes well and your employees deliver positive results, recognize it. Pay attention to the effort exerted by your team members and acknowledge their results with awards and praise.

Whether you own your own business or you’re a leader where you’re employed, following these strategies will set the foundation for positive outcomes for you, your team, and your business – now and in the future!

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Copyright 2021 Mary Kelly - Productive Leaders

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