Even the most skillful leaders understand that a company can’t be run entirely by a single person. Delegation is a critical component of any successful company and the only way to ensure that a you and your managers are able to focus on the tasks that will drive the most value for your business.
Fortunately, delegation is a skill that can be mastered over time. Here are a few secrets to better delegation.
List Your Tasks and Responsibilities
Begin by creating a list of all the duties you’re responsible for, both on a daily basis as well as tasks needed to achieve your longer-term objectives.
Start by listing your larger objectives, like year-to-year leadership goals, along with any quarterly or monthly goals you want to achieve. Then, break those larger goals down into discrete steps, listing the daily and weekly tasks required to achieve the larger goals.
Next, list the tasks you engage in frequently. These might include “housekeeping” administrative tasks, weekly meetings or conference calls, or anything else that routinely requires your attention.
Once you’ve listed all the tasks and responsibilities you have on your plate, you can get a better picture of what can (or should) be delegated.
Determine the Tasks You Should Delegate
Engage in a thorough review of the list you created, then give each task or responsibility one of three category assignments: should be delegated, should not be delegated, or should be partially delegated.
To help you decide which category to assign, begin by putting a star next to the tasks that you are best at. These responsibilities should remain under your purview when possible to ensure that you are primarily focused on doing the things that will drive the most value for your organization.
Any other task is open for delegation and should be considered accordingly. However, remember that some responsibilities should never be delegated, like salary discussions or performance evaluations for top-level employees. Those sorts of responsibilities require input from the top leadership and should be retained for that purpose even if you don’t enjoy doing them.
Assign the Task to the Right Person
Now that you’ve determined which tasks need to be delegated, it’s time to decide to whom they will be delegated. To guide that decision, it’s best to run each task through the following three-tiered process.
At the first tier, list any employees who are the best fit for the task from the perspective of their skills, talents and expertise. For the second tier, list any employees who are not yet qualified for the first tier but have the potential to learn those skills and talents over time. For the third tier, list employees according to who has the time for the new task, who might enjoy the responsibilities, and other “quality of life” factors.
When the most qualified employees in the first tier don’t have the bandwidth to handle additional work, move to candidates from the second tier, then move down to the third tier when necessary. Always remember that it’s unlikely you’ll be able to assign the genuine “best” employees to every task — there’s simply not enough time in the day, and the last thing you want to do is drive your most talented employees toward burnout.
By making ample use of your second-tier prospects, you give your top players room to breathe and succeed, and ensure that you’re grooming the next generation of high performers.
Provide Proper Training
Rarely will an employee be able to step into your shoes without assistance, so it’s vital that you meet with every individual team member to clearly explain the new tasks they’ll be responsible for. Take this opportunity to ensure they understand that they can always come to you with questions. Then, lay out a game plan to provide any necessary training or education the employee will need to start their new duties.
Understand that delegating tasks will often take longer than doing them yourself, especially in the initial stages. Remember that the goal isn’t to save time on each individual task, it’s to save you time overall, throughout your entire schedule. Trust that even when an individual job takes longer, your company as a whole will benefit when you have more time to address larger concerns.
Provide Actionable Feedback
It’s unlikely that an employee will adapt to their new roles seamlessly, so seek regular opportunities to provide constructive, actionable feedback. Meet with each employee to go over the work that was delegated to them, and share your thoughts about how they can improve the quality of that work or reduce the time needed to complete it successfully.
Empower Employees to Make Decisions
Remember that employees who have been delegated tasks that you once handled also need to have the authority to complete those tasks. Don’t hesitate to assign extra responsibility when necessary or even provide the employee with further professional development. Doing so will improve their performance and increase your customer retention and overall level of success.
Taking on new responsibilities can be stressful for employees, even when they’re top performers. Accordingly, always go out of your way to show appreciation for those who’ve taken the weight off your shoulders.
Interested in learning more about how to train your manager to become better at delegation? Come explore our delegation training course to help them become better managers today!