According to BusinessDictionary.com, delegation is the “Sharing or transfer of authority and the associated responsibility, from an employer or superior (who has the right to delegate) to an employee or subordinate.”
Overall, we want to show you that delegation, even if scary at first, can make you a much better employee in the long run. Overall, we believe that it can empower those on your team as well as bring out the best in you. So read on and learn why delegation is smart as well as how to do it the right way.
Why is delegation smart?
Marissa Levin, Founder and CEO, Successful Culture, says that she tries to evaluate her daily tasks and divide them into four groups.
- I love what I have to do and I’m great at it.
- I don’t like what I have to do but I’m good at it.
- I like what I have to do but I’m not good at it.
- I don’t like what I have to do, and I don’t do it well.
She also asks herself, “Is this the best use of my time? I may love what I have to do, and I may do it really well, but can I outsource it someone else who can do it better, faster, or cheaper?”
In short, delegation is your key to working more efficiently. The end game in breaking down projects and asking for help is simple: to help you do your job better.
Then why is delegation sometimes hard?
For many, giving away tasks that used to be on our to-do list isn’t an easy thing to do.
First of all, it takes trust. If you’re the point person for a certain project and a part of that project falls through, it could get pinned on you.
Delegation can also be hard because at times we may need to let go of some of the things we actually find really enjoyable about our job. Like Marissa says, if someone else can do it better or more efficiently, then it should probably be delegated.
Of course, delegation may be difficult simply because you lack the resources. Sure, it’d be nice if you had a team with the capacity to take on additional tasks or the budget to hire a freelancer but that might not be your reality right now.
The delegation also takes education. If you’re assigning a task to someone for the very first time, it can take time and patience to onboard or teach your team how to do it. They may even make a few mistakes at first. Even with the additional effort required at first, proper delegation will always be worth it in the long run.
The risks of not delegating
Like we said, sharing projects and tasks isn’t always easy, so it can feel natural to want to do as much as you can on your own. As the saying goes, “If you want a thing done well, do it yourself.”
Ok, sure, you might do it right. But each of us needs to ask ourselves if we’re the ones who’ll do it best.
Say you need to do some work on your company website but there’s some coding involved. Do you spend half a day at work combing through Google and Youtube to try to figure it out yourself? Or, do you ask someone on your team who has experience in coding for help and get the job done in about an hour?
Another aspect of delegation is simply divvying up the amount of work that needs to get done. When your plate is full, oftentimes it’s easy to let the smaller things fall through the cracks. An unanswered email here, a phone call missed there. No big deal, right?
Maybe, but maybe not. In order to be the very best you can be for your team, sometimes delegating even just the little things can make you a happier, more efficient, and more focused employee.
Who should you delegate to?
Delegating shouldn’t simply fall to those who look like they have less on their plate than you. This could lead to frustration, unclear expectations, and low employee morale.
Instead, when you’re thinking of who the best person would be to delegate a task, try to find the person whose skills and talents best align with the work you’re looking to delegate. Mindtools.com goes over several areas to consider when choosing a person to ask for help. Things like their experience and knowledge, how independent they are and their preferred work style, and their current workload.
Asking someone to take on additional work could potentially mean that, in turn, some of their daily routine will need to be shifted or even taking on by another coworker that can handle some of the lesser important tasks that that employee was responsible for.
Overall, delegation at its best aims to be a win-win situation for everyone involved. Be sure that delegating tasks isn’t burning out fellow employees, but rather taking advantage of their skills, interests, and expertise.
When to outsource
Of course, your first stop for delegation will probably be among your own employees or team. This should always be the first place you start since the best delegation methods will also be cost effective.
You may, however, find yourself needing to outsource to experts for one-off or even ongoing projects. In this case, potentially hiring a freelancer, intern, or even a part-time or interim employee might be called for.
This post, “6 Reasons Why You Should Hire A Freelancer” is a helpful blog on figuring out when it might be time to take the leap and hire help for your work. Overall, you’re going to want to determine how much time you usually devote to the tasks you want to outsource and how much money it could potentially save you (or make you) if hiring someone to do it for you.
How to delegate well
Here are a few bullets for you to reference when delegation your next project:
- First, you’ll need to clearly define the work that needs to be done.
- Then, you’ll need to determine who the different tasks will go to, keeping in mind the specific skills of the person you’re assigning them to.
- It’s also a good idea to create an escalation chart on who each person should go to if they need help, have questions, or need approval for their work.
- It’s additionally important to get on the same page when it comes to follow up and accountability. Put regular meetings on your calendars to go over how each project is progressing.
- Be sure to give credit where credit is due. When reporting on your projects to your own higher-ups, be sure to acknowledge your team’s work and praise them when they’ve done a good job. You’ll look great for successfully delegating a project and your team will look great for mastering each of their parts in it.
Leave your experiences in the comments below! Have you ever had a manager that handled delegation really well? Micromanaged you? Or didn’t like delegating at all? How did each experience make you feel as an employee and what would you have done differently?