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How to Delegate Tasks Effectively to Get Work Done

How to delegate tasks effectively

“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.”

                                                                                                                     -John C. Maxwell

As a project manager, leadership success is much more than managing a long list of tasks and working day in and day out for your team’s success. It is also about how well you are at delegating tasks and managing them end-to-end. 

How to delegate tasks effectively is one of the most important things to master to become a successful project manager.

And for successful delegation, you must pass the baton and share your workload effectively. While you may be hesitant to delegate tasks at first, with practice, you will learn how to delegate tasks and help your team members accomplish tasks together. 

While delegation is not possible without a dedicated resource planning tool for project managers, you also need some tried and tested tips to be successful at delegating work. 

In this blog, we have curated the ultimate list of tips for delegating tasks effortlessly. 

So be with us as we throw the spotlight on how to delegate tasks effectively and get things done.

Let’s begin!

What is Task Delegation and Why It is Important?

John Hunt, a professor from London Business School, noted that only 30% of managers were confident of their delegation skills while only a third of them were considered good delegators by their co-workers.

Surprising right, especially because delegation seems to appear as an easy task on the surface?

Well, to be honest, it is pretty easy, provided you get familiar with tips and tricks that help you to understand delegation and answer all your questions to ‘how do you delegate tasks to your team?’.

Delegation is the transfer of specific tasks from a superior to a subordinate. It refers to granting responsibility or authority to a member of the team for the completion of a particular task. It is one of the most useful management skills that help managers reduce their workload and take out time for other important activities that matter the most for a project.

As a manager, when you delegate work and responsibilities, you inadvertently build a stronger team that is built to last. So, you cannot afford to ignore the importance of delegation as it helps you:

  • Empower your team by granting them greater autonomy
  • Build trust within the team
  • Allow yourself time to focus on higher-value activities
  • Motivate the employees to perform better
  • Increase overall team productivity
  • Supports team’s professional development

So, embrace delegation in your everyday project management routine and you will surely notice the difference that it brings to overall team and project management. You will be surprised with greater efficiency reflected in project outcomes due to an increased sense of responsibility in team members.

Read More: Best Practices to Manage Cross Functional Teams

10 Effective Tips to Delegate Work and Responsibilities

Tips to delegate work and responsibilites

Delegation is not a process that you can read about and master within a day. It involves several attempts at successfully accomplishing a task through delegation and arriving at a delegation style that best suits you and your team needs.

If you are wondering how to delegate work as a manager so that work is accomplished timely with all pieces of a project delivery falling correctly, then look no further than the below-mentioned points.

Following a few proven tips for delegating can help you allocate work to the right people and speed up project deliveries.

We have done all the heavy-lifting and compiled a list of delegation techniques that have worked in organizations big or small, regardless of the type of industry. We’re sure that by leveraging these techniques you will be better prepared to delegate tasks to your team members and effective workload management resulting in desired project outcomes.

Let’s take a look at different delegation techniques for managers.

1. Capitalize on Your Employee’s Strengths

For effective delegation, it’s important to choose the right person for the job. For this, you must understand each team member’s caliber and identify who has the relevant skills to work on a particular project or task. 

When you identify and leverage each team member’s unique set of strengths to delegate, it will result in short-term achievements as well as long-term organizational success. Thus, identify their strengths and delegate accordingly.

2. Know What and When to Delegate

First things first, map out which tasks can be delegated and which ones require your expertise. Once the list of tasks that can be delegated is sorted, identify whether it is the ideal time to delegate. 

For instance, if you’re assigning a task for the first time, you might not want to delegate towards the end of the project. That’s because it may take longer than expected to perform a task well for the first time.

Rather start delegating tasks from the beginning i.e., when you receive your new set of goals.

Read More: Project Leadership: What Is It and Which Skills Are Required?

3. Establish the Reason for Task Delegation

Clearly convey why you want to delegate tasks to employees and how it will help them grow personally and professionally. Show confidence in the employee’s ability to carry out the task. This is bound to increase their self-confidence and equip them to perform tasks with greater efficiency and zest.

As a manager, point out the skills that you see in employees and tie them to the requirements of the task that you wish to assign. Until you establish the reason for task delegation, employees may question why a task was delegated to them and not performed by the manager itself. If such things are unclear, it may result in the non-fulfillment of task objectives to the best of their ability.

Read More: How to Increase Employee Productivity Using ProProfs Project

4. Be Specific About the End Result

When delegating, be clear on what is expected from employees. Provide the right instructions and define the desired outcome. Try and set expectations right from the beginning so that no confusion follows later.

Without clear expectations, your employee may face difficulties in figuring out how to proceed with tasks or what to achieve and by when. Being clear from the get-go will help both you and your employees in achieving tasks in line with the expected results. 

Thus, to accomplish set goals on time, it’s indispensable to stay aligned with the expected end results.

5. Provide the Required Resources and Training

Do your employees have the required resources to perform the job? Do they require a certain program training to develop their knowledge, skills, or abilities?

For effective delegation, outline the task requirements. Analyze what skills, software, or expertise are required to complete the task on time.

Understand what employees need to perform the given task to the best of their abilities and provide them sufficient training and adequate resources for the same. This way, they are bound to meet your expectations.

Read More: Project Resource Management 101: For Flawless Project Journeys

6. Delegate Both Responsibility and Authority

As you delegate work, make sure that you empower your employees to make decisions themselves. Do not keep holding to responsibility and authority, making your employees depend on you for even the smallest of task execution.

Define their scope of authority and grant them the power to utilize it as and when needed. This is essential to help them grow and take full ownership of their tasks.

This shared responsibility and authority will improve the chances of achieving overall company goals in a more efficient way.

7. Stay Involved but Don’t Micromanage

It’s crucial that you follow up on delegated tasks at pre-decided checkpoints. However, make sure that you don’t start micromanaging and only offer relevant feedback and suggestions. Also, ensure that you listen to your employees to understand their perspectives as well.

This helps you keep a check on the task progress and ascertain whether the employee is moving on the right track. While it keeps you satisfied with the work in progress, it prevents rework on tasks at a later stage.

Read More: 15 Essential Project Management Tips for a Successful Project

8. Give Credit for Work Well Done

Don’t forget to show your appreciation to employees for achieving the tasks that were delegated to them. Complimenting them for their efforts and determination will make them perform even better on their next task.

Think about it. Didn’t you feel elated when you were appreciated for performing a task well and standing up to the expectations? Well, the same applies to your employees as well. A simple “Thank you” is bound to boose their morale and multiply their efficiency for upcoming projects and tasks!

9. Be Flexible

When delegating tasks to team members, be open to new ideas and methods of performing a task differently. Different people take different routes and employ different strategies to complete their tasks. This may vary depending on the person’s judgment or ease of adopting a certain path. 

Thus, once you have delegated tasks and specified requirements, let your employees choose any methodology they find appropriate. This will inspire engagement and motivate your team to perform to the best of their abilities and even exceed expectations.

10. Use Failure to Their Advantage

If an employee fails to deliver the delegated task as expected, do not go roaring over them. Instead, help them understand how they could have performed better by offering constructive feedback.

Help them understand what went wrong and what steps they can incorporate to perform better next time. Quote an instance where you, too, faced something similar and got better with practice. This will enable them to positively cope with inefficiency and failure. This will further drive them to work on their limitations and outdo themselves in the future.

Read More: Critical Success Factors in Project Management

Why Do People Back out From Delegating Activities

Delegating, as easy as it sounds, can be difficult for some who may not have either the will or the ability to delegate. While some may be too hesitant to start delegating, others might develop a fear of the end result due to previous delegation failures. The key here is to identify why a person may not feel motivated enough to utilize the power of delegation for easing project management while building team effectiveness.

Here are a few common reasons why people back out from delegating activities:

  1. It will mean passing off your work to subordinates
  2. They think they are the only ones who can perform the task as required
  3. They are nervous about losing control and fear that someone else may get the credit
  4. They think that explaining what is expected will take up more time than simply doing the task themselves
  5. They lack confidence or trust in who they need to transfer the project to
  6. They don’t trust employees with the ability to handle more work
  7. They don’t wish to delegate the work that they enjoy doing themselves

Thus, it is essential that you recognize what is holding you back from delegating work to others and then move on to understand how to delegate work as a manager. It might take you some hits and misses before you get confident enough to delegate tasks to team members without any hesitation. The key is to keep learning from your mistakes and evolving your delegation style to attain a stage where both you and your team members are convinced of the end results of the delegated tasks.

Improve Your Delegation Skills for Effective Project Management

By now, you must have got a fair idea about how do you delegate tasks to your team. Once you start practicing delegation, you are bound to realize its benefits sooner than expected. Effective delegation empowers team members and maximizes the overall efficiency of the organization. A great leader understands this and adopts delegation proactively to cultivate high-performing teams and deliver projects on time. 

Thus, it’s best to explore the power of delegation and start delegating work to your team members right from the start. Keep in mind the above-discussed tips, and you are bound to excel at delegation no matter the type of industry you are in.

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About the author

David is a Project Management expert. He has been published in elearningindustry.com, simpleprogrammer.com. As a project planning and execution expert at ProProfs, he has offered a unique outlook on improving workflows and team efficiency. Connect with David for more engaging conversations on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.