How to Delegate Effectively

December 15, 2010

Delegation – sounds easy yet many struggle to delegate well.  How often do you hear people say, “It’s easier to do it myself”.
Successful delegation can help reduce stress and work overload.  It will assist you in working more productively, spend more time doing tasks you enjoy and are good at, while at the same time building a strong team of successful professionals to assist you in meeting the demands of your business.
Why don’t people delegate?
Quite simply, people don’t delegate because it can take up-front effort.  While on the surface it’s easier to do it yourself rather than explain the strategy/procedure to someone else, in the longer term this time spent  is an investment in your business. 
Note: If you need to document how to carry out the task, keep this document for future use.  As you build a file of ‘procedures’, any future delegation of the same task is simply a matter of forwarding on the document.  Before you know it you have the draft of your Office Procedures manual.
Delegation allows you to make the best use of your time and skills, there may also be someone who can do these tasks quicker and more efficiently than you yourself can do it – two brains are better than one.

When to delegate
To determine when delegation is most appropriate there are three key questions you need to ask yourself:
  • Is there someone else who can be given the information to complete the task or is it critical you do it yourself?
  • Is this a task that will recur in the future?
  • Can you make time available to delegate this task efficiently?
Other factors to consider are:
  • Timelines
    • How much time is there to do the task?
    • What are the consequences of not completing the task on time?
  • Your resources
    • Who do you have on hand that could do this task?
    • Do they have the necessary time available to complete on time?
How should you delegate?
Use the following principles to delegate effectively:
  • Clearly articulate the desired outcome.  Begin with the end in mind and specify desired results.
  • Delegate to the person who has the skills to be able to achieve your results.
  • Clearly identify constraints and boundaries.  Make it clear that  they should ask for clarification where necessary.
  • Establish and maintain control.
    • Discuss time-lines and deadlines.
    • Agree on a schedule of checkpoints where you can review progress.
    • Make adjustments as necessary.
    • Take to to review all submitted work thoroughly.  While it is efficient to delegate, remember that you are still ultimately responsible for the task.

Note: It is important to discuss any areas you are not completely happy with for the long term benefits to be successful.  For delegation to work you need to be 100% happy with the final result.  If you end up having to fix or complete the task then you are not delegating successfully.


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