As a leader, your day is likely filled with important but not-so-urgent matters, and delegation is the secret weapon to optimize your time, supercharge your priorities, and conquer your to-do list.
However, while delegation is typically one of the keystone habits of an exceptional leader, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy one to develop. Obstacles, most notably trust-related concerns, may loom on your path to effective delegation. Yet, as Theodore Roosevelt wisely put it, “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”
So, are you ready to trust yourself to choose the right people and then trust those employees when you hand them important tasks? Let’s dive into how you can invest a little time now in learning the art of delegation, so you can enjoy a massive time-saving payoff down the road.
The Benefits of Delegation: What’s Standing in Your Way?
Mastering the art of delegation offers a multitude of advantages. It enables you to increase your overall productivity, as you can pursue multiple goals simultaneously. Delegation also fosters skill development and career growth among your team members, a crucial factor in attracting and retaining top talent. Moreover, it optimizes your most valuable resource—time.
By delegating, you can channel your high-level time and energy toward tasks that truly warrant your attention. So, what obstacles might be hindering you from realizing these benefits? As previously mentioned, various factors deter leaders from delegating effectively.
Why Leaders Struggle to Delegate
Certain leaders harbor concerns that delegation might diminish their perceived busyness and involvement, potentially affecting their perceived importance in their roles. Others fear that their team members lack the qualifications for delegated tasks, leading them to believe they should handle everything themselves. Additionally, some worry that delegating will consume more time than completing the task independently. Nevertheless, it’s essential to recognize that all these challenges can be overcome.
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How to Delegate Effectively
To achieve the best possible results and effectively optimize your time, there are six essential steps to follow when delegating.
1. Match the Person with the Project
When delegating, avoid assigning tasks randomly. Instead, approach delegation strategically by matching the right team member to the appropriate project. Consider your team’s strengths and set them up for success. This thoughtful approach benefits both them and you.
2. Provide Detailed Explanations and Instructions
Although it may appear time-consuming initially, invest the necessary time to offer meticulous instructions when delegating. By doing this thoroughly and documenting it, you ensure that you won’t need to repeat the process in the future, ultimately saving you more time down the line.
3. Set Deadlines and Check In
Provide your team members with clear deadlines for their delegated projects. It’s advisable to set smaller milestones throughout the project, in addition to an overarching final deadline. This approach ensures that projects progress smoothly, reducing the necessity for micromanagement. Your role will shift to periodic check-ins, allowing you to focus on higher-priority tasks.
4. Give Your Employees Decision-Making Power
As you delegate tasks and provide your team with the essential details for success, grant them decision-making authority. Empowering them to make choices will prevent an influx of questions that can impede progress and take up your valuable time.
5. Give Praise and Credit for Work Well Done
Recognize and reward your employees for their successful completion of delegated tasks, so they’re motivated to excel in future assignments.
In cases where tasks were not completed to your standards, resist the urge to stop delegating altogether. Instead, conduct a thorough analysis to identify potential issues, acknowledging that the responsibility may lie with you due to insufficient instructions or task-person alignment. Subsequently, adjust your delegation strategies accordingly.
6. Get Creative
If you find yourself in a position where you believe your team lacks the required talent for delegation, or you don’t have employees to delegate to, it’s time to think creatively and explore alternative solutions.
Perhaps your administrative support can shoulder more significant responsibilities. Could outsourcing tasks to third-party vendors be a viable option? Embrace the potential of AI and other technologies to accomplish specific tasks efficiently. Additionally, consider the possibility of delegating upwards, entrusting some of your tasks to your superiors.
By thoroughly exploring these options, you may discover untapped opportunities that can elevate your delegation strategies and help you better optimize your time.
The Bottom Line
Delegation is an essential part of an effective time management process. By dedicating a small portion of your time to delegating, you can expect a substantial return on your time in the future, which you can then allocate to more valuable pursuits.
Remember — delegation does not mean abdication. Even when you delegate, you retain ultimate authority and accountability, thereby continuing to provide invaluable contributions to your organization and showcasing your worth.
If you’re interested in honing your delegation skills further, consider the benefits of leadership and career coaching. Take the first step by signing up for a complimentary coaching session today.