The Art of Delegation

Delegation can be one of the most important techniques in a manager’s toolkit. It can fast track productivity and empower those around you to grow, allowing for better performance and a boost in morale. Simply put, if frees up time, gives others the opportunity to develop and step up and provides much needed head-space for you to focus on other things. However, it can be a struggle for some managers and done poorly can lead to trouble down the line.

Many managers who delegate well often follow these logical steps:

Make a plan – what’s your overall aim and why are you asking someone else to perform the task. Try to think about the why, what, when, who and where.

Before you can start delegating, take the time to develop a plan that outlines exactly what you’re expecting. Unless employees get clear direction, they won’t be able to deliver the results that you want. This is only possible when you’ve thought about the tasks and your expectations regarding its completion.

Describe & assign the task – be clear about what needs to be done and provide sufficient detail so they can be clear on the result required.

Create a list of tasks that your employees are currently working on and assess the strengths of the employees carrying out the tasks. This will help you delegate tasks based on individual skills and attributes.

Set the timeline – when does the task need to be done by and what contingency do you have if the timeframe shifts

While providing information about the tasks, including specific information on timing, budget and context is really important. Set expectations for updates and other communications, including frequency, content and format.

Who’s involved – talk through who else might input in what needs to be worked on or need consulting with and what their involvement might be.

Make your checks – is everything clear, do they understand what’s required and do they know where to come for help and support?

Regular check-ins and status reports about the progress ensures timely delivery and can avoid last-minute surprises. The check-ins should outline the tasks completed, provide a plan for next steps and highlight potential issues.

Ownership, responsibility & accountability – your employees should be completely responsible and committed to getting the expected results. A key part of delegating is an open line of communication and accountability. Employees must communicate the status of the deliverables and its timings regularly. You should also be available for clarification on certain points.

Finally, don’t ignore the power of praise and a thank you – your team will appreciate it massively and be more likely to take on more in the future.

At Futureproof, we know how difficult effective communication & delegation can be which is why we build the topic into our management development programmes, talk to us or click this link to find out more about our Structured Development Pathways.