Effective delegation is an important skill to help you free yourself up to do more important things. If you are stuck with day to day tasks, it is more difficult for you to do what you are meant to be doing, like leading your team.
However, I’d like you to stop thinking of delegating work as a way to reduce your workload, and instead, as a way to improve your team. Delegating work is not just getting rid of your most hated tasks and sending them to somebody else to do. Effective delegation should be used to improve the functioning of your team and to help them achieve their goals.
How to delegate work to improve your team
1. Delegate work that your team needs to be better at
Sometimes managers will shy away from delegating work because they feel that their team won’t be able to achieve the required results. The only problem with this approach is that your team will never improve if you continue to protect them.
If your team doesn’t do something well enough, next time you will say “it’s just quicker if I do it myself”. Really this isn’t doing you any favours. It is showing a lack of trust in your team. This is likely to demotivate them further, and you might have even more work to do!
The trick here is to continue to delegate work, and to provide support at the same time. Spending time coaching your team to produce better results is time well spent. The more you do it, the less you will need to in the future.
2. Delegate work that is interesting
When some people achieve leadership positions, they see this as an opportunity to shed the responsibility for the boring tasks on their list and dish them out to their team. Sometimes this is necessary to enable you to do other work, but if you are consistently delegating boring work to your team, you can be sure that this will eventually result in them becoming annoyed.
Where possible, you should delegate work that is interesting and challenging, even if you really feel like doing them yourself. To do this, you need to understand your team. Understand what interests them and what their goals and aspirations are.
When you get this right, you can expect to see a lot of hard work and motivation from your team, who are developing skills they want and working on things that interest them.
To delegate work effectively, you need to understand your team’s goals and aspirations.
3. Delegate work by giving responsibility
Delegation become less useful when leaders delegate the task, but none of the responsibility along with it. This means that your team is simply doing work for you, but not actually being held accountable for it. They know you will take what they have done and change it anyway before you send it to your boss.
Getting your team to own a piece of work can be a great way to motivate them. Ultimately if you can give full responsibility for a piece of work to your team, they’ll need to make sure it’s right before it goes out. They won’t rely on somebody else to do it for them. This is a great way for your team to become invested in their work. It can make them feel like their role actually matters.
Effective delegation is a key leadership skill. It is often used to distribute work amongst a team. But you can use it to improve the way your team works.