Many of us struggle with the issue of trust that comes with passing our work to someone else to complete. Daunting questions flood our brains as soon as we consider the idea of delegation, questions like:
"Who would I even delegate tasks to?" "How will I explain it to them?" "How do I make sure it is done correctly and maybe even exceeds my expectations?"
Delegation takes practice and is an acquired skill. Everyone learns differently, and is receptive to different communication methods. When delegating to multiple people it will take time to develop an understanding and trust with each individual.
Patience and willingness to adapt new methods will segue into the art of success in delegation.
Using the following 5 powerful steps will increase your efficiency and put you on the path to mastering the art of delegation.
You have to be willing to let go of the tasks you are in the habit of performing in order to make room for bigger and better tasks. Start by evaluating which tasks hold the million dollar value and which do not. Understand that your delegation strategy may not be perfect all the time but the more you delegate the better at it you will become.
Allow yourself to grow and expand. Those lower level tasks can often be a safety net and a comfort zone. Enabling others to assist you will open up time in your day to focus on strategy and growth.
Be willing to increase your self-knowledge: how you respond to conflict, what motivates you, what causes you stress, how you solve problems and what your optimal communication style is.
2. Choose a Delegate
The Who - Juggling everything alone requires extreme dedication. Many of us pride ourselves on our ability to keep track of so many moving pieces. However, it is time to focus on tasks that are more worthy of your attention. Choose someone to help. Continuing to drag your feet digging through resumes and interviewing is not growth. Choose someone. If it doesn't work out, assign someone else. Remember, delegation is not only work on the part of your assistant/team member, but also work on your part.
Building trust takes time and patience, but you need to start somewhere in order to know what is working for you and what is not. This will help you to hone in on the skill sets you require of your delegate.
3. Assign Tasks
The What - Which tasks are priority tasks that require your direct attention and which do not? Make a list. Assign lower level tasks to others and keep the high strategic tasks on your plate. If you are unsure if the person you are assigning tasks to has the capability to execute it, just ask. Don't be afraid to present new tasks to others by simply asking. Often times we do not know every single skill set that others around us possess. Provide the opportunity for your team to speak up and show the skill sets in which they will truly shine. Play to your workers' strengths.
4. Set Expectations
Clear, concise instructions are imperative to delegation, especially when you are delegating to someone new. Setting clear expectations for the tasks or projects at hand is first and foremost.
Be Prepared to train. Provide your new delegate with hands on training. This does not have to be in person, as a screen-sharing session will work to your advantage! Give step by step instructions to save time, record it. Recording a training session will allow your team to re-watch the video and follow side by side instructions. Doing this will free up your time, so you're not stuck answering questions multiple times, or re-training someone.
Set deadlines and goals. Be clear as to what needs to be done, and when it needs to be completed. Set hard deadlines for each task. If something needs to be done on a daily basis, make it known. Set the expectation of how long you think it should take to complete the task. I advise to not get carried away here as everyone works at different paces. For example, if you would like someone to complete a research task, set the expectation that you would like them to spend X amount of hours researching XYZ. Set goals for each task to ensure quality and the expectation of the result.
Schedule routine meetings. Communication is key. Talk with your team, review the tasks at hand. Provide constructive feedback on tasks that were completed or ongoing. Don't be afraid to speak up about the finished product. Creating a routine of speaking on a daily, weekly, or bi-weekly bases will open the lines of communication. It is better to inform your delegate that the project is not meeting your expectations early rather than receive a completed project that is all wrong. Ongoing check ins will be very beneficial!
Develop a system of assigning tasks. Creating a space in which tasks are assigned and reviewed will assist in developing a smooth machine of input and output of tasks. Your delegate will know where to look to for tasks and how to submit them once completed. Establish a flow.
5. Be Adaptable
Not everybody is perfect. The art of delegation takes time. Be open to making changes and adapting your strategy. Everyone gives and receives information differently. Set a routine with your delegate. Listen to the feedback that your team is providing. Learn from the feedback provided and be open to suggestions on ways to improve.
Lastly, with some help from a few tech tools, delegation can begin to be a seamless process for you and your team.
Using behavioral assessments will give you a deeper dive in to what makes you and your team tick. Understanding yourself and your team will aid in adapting behaviors for maximum efficiency throughout your company. Assessments can improve working relationships by recognizing the communication needs of team members. Facilitate better teamwork and teach productive conflict. Manage more effectively by understanding the dispositions and priorities of employees and team members.
Project Management Software
Project management software can help to ensure everyone on your team is on the same page. These online programs can be accessed remotely and jointly by your team. They can help teams complete client requirements and manage time, budget, and scope constraints and much more! Each application is different so it is important to do your research before choosing one. Be open to the idea of new platforms as they are constantly being developed and improved.
Communication is key. Having a designated point and place of communication will increase productivity. Establish a place where the right people and the right information come together.