HR & Management

5 tips that will teach you how to delegate effectively

3 min read

29 April 2014

The art of delegation is key to being a good manager and helping your business grow. Here are five easy tips to help you learn how to delegate effectively.

Control freaks the world over think that no one can do it better than them. Sadly, many managers/control freaks are, simply, incredibly poor at using the most effective tool in the management toolbox: delegation. 

Not letting go of the day-to-day tasks can quickly kill the growth potential of your business along with your career. Being productive requires effective management, and that means getting delegation right. 

Delegation is good for everyone – for managers especially, but also for helping staff upgrade their skills and confidence as well as to showcase their (in/)competence.

Here are the five steps of strong delegation:

1. Determine what is to be delegated

Sounds obvious, but it often isn’t. Always delegate as much as possible – particularly all execution-based work. Ideally, management should enrol the team, select the players and let them play (while the manager stays off the pitch).

2. Identify the right person

The best managers determine the positions of his/her staff based on their particular individual skills. Other key delegation factors include identifying those that: can devote the time/are interested in the assignment/understand the background/can handle the job/are reliable/are keen to grow.

3. Assign the task

Extraordinarily, less is more when it comes to instruction, even on major projects. In most cases, those you delegate to will be keen to demonstrate their abilities (if not, you may be delegating to the wrong person). Too much instruction and they’ll view the task as simply following your orders (this quickly kills motivation). Instead, why not agree a “vision” for the end result and leave the route(s) for achieving that vision open for them to decide?

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4. Monitor progress

Aka don’t micro-manage or be judgemental. However, subtle monitoring doesn’t mean abandoning them to their fate either. It is best to agree task completion metrics and time points as well as offer constructive feedback. If coaching or re-orientation is required, it should be the minimum to re-establish the vision and ensure they’ve the tools/skills to successfully complete the task. 

5. Evaluate performance

Yours and theirs! This is a minefield for managers as confidence and motivation can be easily lost through bungled or clumsy evaluation. Praise is always best! In fact, it’s an almost universal currency since everyone is keen to win recognition. Seek to give it by the bucket-load, especially when evaluating. Even for a poor job, any feedback will be better received if started with the positives – any positives!

Robert Kelsey is the author of “Get Things Done: What stops smart people achieving more & how you can change”, published by Capstone.