This article provides guidelines for effective delegation. It describes the 5 steps of effective delegation process and gives valuable tips on how to delegate work to the team more efficiently and effectively.

Effective delegation is much more than just giving work to people. It is an opportunity to maximise the team’s potential and proactive engagement alongside. And, all senior executives must master the art of effective delegation to have more time to do the things that only they can do.

So, here is an article providing the valuable principles of effective delegation at workplace.

Feel free to share it with all your colleagues and team to maximise your organisation’s overall efficiency.

5 Phases of the effective delegation process

Effective delegation involves the below mentioned five steps-

  1. Determine what to delegate
  2. Pick the right person to delegate
  3. Assign the task and confirm understanding
  4. Communicate new role to other stakeholders
  5. Track progress and be available

Effective delegation involves the below mentioned five steps-

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Determine what to delegate

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Pick the right person to delegate
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Assign the task and confirm understanding

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Communicate new role to other stakeholders

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Track progress and be available

Phase 1: Determine what to delegate

The first step is to closely analyse your day to day activities, and chose the task(s) you will delegate.

Efficient managers and leaders often delegate tasks to enable their team, eliminate time wasters, and find more time to focus on strategic planning, directing and high-value managerial work that helps the organisation to succeed more.

The tasks you can consider delegating include:

Low priority activities that eat up a lot of time and energy.
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Simple trivial day to day activities that you have difficulty keeping up.

Low payoff tasks that do not require your level of ability and experience.

Tasks that involve skill sets and abilities the team member needs to learn.

Repetitive work which requires specialised knowledge or skills you do not currently have enough of.

Low priority activities that eat up a lot of time and energy.
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Simple trivial day to day activities that you have difficulty keeping up.

Low payoff tasks that do not require your level of ability and experience.

Tasks that involve skill sets and abilities the team member needs to learn.

Repetitive work which requires specialised knowledge or skills you do not currently have enough of.

Ensure that the delegation is most appropriate. In other words, assess that delegation is the most suitable choice in the given circumstances.

Avoid making the mistake of selecting the wrong task to delegate by following these guidelines-

  • Do not delegate if the task has not been thought through, or if you yourself are not thoroughly familiar with the task.
  • In any case, do not delegate risky or confidential work, and when you are the best person for the job.
  • Ensure that your reasons and the motivation to delegate the task is fair and worthy. Delegate meaningful work only. Never delegate any task that is unpleasant or demeaning, that you wouldn’t want to do it yourself.

Phase 2: Pick the right person to delegate

The second step is to identify the most appropriate team member to delegate the task.

Consider the following factors to elect the right person for the task :

Experience, knowledge and skill-sets of the team member.

Interests of the team member. Identify what he or she wants from this job. Ascertain whether the long term goals of the team member align with the proposed work.

Availability of time. Check whether you have time to provide training, and whether the team member has time to take on more work.

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Preferred work style of the team member. Assess whether the person is able to handle the work independently.

Current workload of the team member. Determine whether delegating this task requires reshuffling of other work responsibilities.

Experience, knowledge and skill-sets of the team member.

Interests of the team member. Identify what he or she wants from this job. Ascertain whether the long term goals of the team member align with the proposed work.

Availability of time. Check whether you have time to provide training, and whether the team member has time to take on more work.

Current workload of the team member. Determine whether delegating this task requires reshuffling of other work responsibilities.

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Preferred work style of the team member. Assess whether the person is able to handle the work independently.

Here, I would like to highlight that you must match the work requirement with the candidate’s skill sets appropriately.

Choosing the right person to the right job is said to be one of the most important things to do in an effective delegation.

Therefore, remember the following points when selecting the right person to delegate the task-

  • Do not delegate a task to a person if it brings a bad effect on the team in the long term in any way.
  • Assign the task to those who are most likely to excel and produce remarkable results. For example, delegate duties to the team members who are closest to the work or who already have a basic understanding of the work. Consequently, you will prepare them for the positions the organisation needs or will need to fill in the future.
  • Ensure that you use a fair selection method.

Phase 3: Entrust work to the person.

Once you have determined the task to be delegated and identified the appropriate person, the next step is to schedule a meeting with the person and assign the task. Help the team member understand what needs to be done and create commitment.

Poor communication is often the biggest roadblock to effective delegation process. It’s not enough to simply tell people what to do. So, communicate efficiently to delegate the work successfully.

Make sure that you brief your team member(s) appropriately so that everyone understands and no one is frustrated due to the communication barriers in the delegation process. 

10 steps to communicate effectively and delegate tasks successfully

The best way to get your message across efficiently for a successful delegation process is to abide by the tips mentioned below-

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Specify what needs to be done.

Clearly define the desired outcomes and communicate your expectations.

At this point, focus only on what to do, rather than elaborating how to do. Do not overload the other person with unnecessary details. Use plain, simple words that they understand.

Furthermore, avoid jargons or at least define them appropriately as they may confuse the other person. 

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Provide the context and background to the work. 

Give a clear picture of your reasons for delegating the work.

 

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Highlight the benefits and significance of accomplishing the work.

Share why he or she was chosen for the work and explain why it is important for him or her to take on the work.

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Ensure that what you said and what the other person heard means exactly what you want to get across.

Ask questions to check their understanding of the task, and what is expected of them.

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Assess the interest level.

Confirm that the person is interested and confident in handling the delegated work. This can be done by asking questions such as ‘Do you want to do this work?’ ‘How comfortable are you with the task to be delegated?’ etc.

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Provide all the information and resources.  

Give all the necessary information required to complete the work. And encourage the other person to stop you and ask questions if anything is not clear.

Ensure that they have access to the equipment and means to achieve the desired results and objectives.

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Understand how they intend to apply their skills and knowledge to fulfil the work responsibilities.

Team members often do not ask questions for fear of being perceived as stupid. So, ask them how they will approach this task. Don’t assume that they know how to do what you are asking them to do.

Pitch in and help, if required. Bridge the knowledge gap, and provide all the support they need from you to successfully achieve the task. Be encouraging and instil confidence.

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Establish clarity on authority levels and boundaries for effective delegation of work.

 Describe the authority you are conferring. Explain the person the scenarios when they should refer back to you or others for decision making at a higher level.

Be more mindful and maintain a human touch.

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Discuss the timelines and deadlines involved.

Don’t command a timeline. Rather ask when they think they can have the work done. Then fix a realistic deadline that’s agreeable and workable for both of you. Also, give reasons for the expected time-frame.

Determine the schedule for checking-in with progress updates. Also agree upon the format and frequency for progress reviews. For example, intermittent face to face reviews with telephone updates, if you are managing an individual remotely. 

Communicate compassionately so the other person becomes more receptive to working with you. 

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Ask them the additional assistance they need.

Let them tell you what they need. Encourage them and let them know that you have full confidence in them.

Phase 4: Track Progress and Provide Support

Be available and make sure that the work gets done successfully. Ensure ongoing communication and track the progress as the two of you originally discussed.

To that end, consider the following points

– Inform the new role to the concerned stakeholders so that everyone knows who to contact. Do this once the team member whom you are delegating the work has completely understood and nodded yes to the assignment.

– Provide adequate support, and coach them. Identify the expectations, and take the time to coach the person how to overcome challenges and achieve better results quickly.

– Give priority to reviewing all submitted work. Provide timely feedback. The individual needs to be clear about how well they are progressing and what they need to do differently to get an enhanced result. Inattention often slows things down for team members. So, it’s absolutely important for the managers and leaders to always be available for the team no matter how busy and tied up they are.

– If they have any questions or concerns, hear them out intently. In case you are pressed for time, set up an appointment for later on that day and keep it. Keep yourself available for questions

– If you feel the job is being done poorly or incorrectly, pitch in and help.

– Do not micromanage. Find the appropriate balance between giving enough space to people for their own methods and processes, while still monitoring to ensure that the work is done correctly and effectively.

Phase 5: Measure and Review Performance

Provide constructive and motivational feedback. And give credit and praise for a job well done. This effort on your part will go a long way toward building team member’s self-confidence for the next delegated task.

Summing Up

Let’s wrap up our understanding of how to delegate work to the team members at the workplace.

Delegation is helpful only when it is done appropriately. To delegate effectively, you must choose the right tasks to delegate, identify the right people to delegate to, and delegate in the right way.

You must communicate efficiently and effectively, clarify the authority level and boundaries, provide enough support and resources to ensure successful accomplishment of the delegated work.

Of course, effective delegation is a process that requires some thought and preparation. And delegation skills eventually improve with practice.

Interested in developing the extensive range of essential skills a manager needs to be more effective at work? If yes, then click here to discover the actionable resources and articles which have enabled and empowered a lot of managers to accomplish better results more effectively.