Delegating is a skill and if you’re new to it delegating can feel awkward and it can be difficult to let go. Delegating is important, it is a skill that can help your productivity and mental health when you’re juggling multiple tasks and competing priorities. The ability to delegate is an indication of a strong leader. Delegating also frees you up to focus on the higher-level tasks and gives you an opportunity to build strengths within your team. These tips can help you learn how to delegate work to subordinates and hone the skill over time.
Start small. If you’re struggling with deciding what to let go start with the small stuff and you can eventually work your way up to bigger items. Recurring tasks are also a great option to start with.
Provide context. When delegating tasks explain why the assignment is important and how it fits into the big picture of the organization. A Harvard Business Review article explains how if you provide context and what is at stake then you increase the odds of follow-through. The first conversation about the task is the most important so this makes sure that the hand-off gets off to the right start.
Follow up. Don’t just delegate it and forget about it. Set up checkpoints to follow up and to be available to provide guidance or answer questions. Your first check-in should be early into the project to make sure that the task isn’t getting too far along if it is headed in the wrong direction.
Verify the work. When you’re first delegating tasks or working with someone for the first time it is important to extend trust but to remain involved. Make sure that you have them send in the work for review part way along the project, not just a verbal check-in but time to review the actual work product. If you do have feedback you should provide it constructively and offer an explanation for any correction that you make on the assignment. This is an opportunity for learning and development for the employee working on the project, taking the time to explain changes lessens the chance that the same mistakes will repeat.
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