What and How to Delegate

Delegation is a key leadership skill, and it can be a difficult one at times.

Delegating work to your team can also be challenging, especially if you don’t have a clear vision of what you are delegating.

When you delegate work to your team, you are empowering them to do the work that you need completed. This is not only motivating for your team, but also frees up time for you to work on higher-level projects that require your attention.

Effective delegation requires two skills: a keen eye for detail and a clear mind for direction.

What to Delegate?

Although many tasks and jobs within your business could be delegated to someone on your team, it is important to recognise that not ALL tasks can be delegated, nor should they be.

When deciding which duties to delegate, consider:

  • Which duties require your attention?
  • Which duties may be handled by your team with discretion?

Certain tasks should remain with you, as these require your special attention and leadership skills. These duties may include:

  • Your top priority. This should remain the same – running the business.
  • Tasks which require your special attention or leadership skills, and involve decision-making.
  • Tasks that best represent your company’s brand or image and that need to remain consistent or familiar to your target market.
  • Tasks where accuracy is key and consistency of the job is necessary.
  • Tasks which require direct contact with customers.

Who to Delegate to?

One way to determine who should take on which task is by using the 80/20 rule, called the Pareto Principle. The rule states that 80% of effects come from 20% of causes.

In project management, you can use this rule to identify the work that will cause the most progress toward your goals.

How to Delegate

When distributing duties to your team, be explicit and purposeful. Choose the best candidate for the job. Provide clear instructions about each task’s requirements and clarify their expectations. Give them the training, support, or power they require. Establish deadlines and offer guidance on how you would like this task completed. Be available to answer questions or queries that may arise. Provide feedback on their performance and congratulate them on their accomplishments.

The key takeaways

  • Decide which jobs require your attention and which may be delegated to your team with discretion.
  • Delegate duties to your team in a detailed and planned manner.
  • Choose the most qualified candidate for the position.
  • Explain the task in full.
  • Expectations and deadlines should be clearly stated.
  • Give the person the necessary training, support, or power.
  • Give constructive criticism to your staff and congratulate them on their achievements.

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