Being a leader is a tough job. When you’re at the helm of a project you are ultimately responsible for the direction of your whole team. When tasked with a large project, most leaders would utilize delegation to get the job done quickly, effectively, and in an ordered fashion. But how does a leader effectively delegate? Effective delegation can transform a work team into a well-oiled machine, while poor delegation can lead to pitfalls that can derail the process, and demotivate employees.
It all comes down to how the leader executes delegation. Let’s take a look at some common “do’s and don’ts” in effective delegation.
Define Tasks and Priorities
When delegating, it is important to clearly define tasks and priorities. No team will ever be effective stumbling into one another. Each individual or group in a team should be allocated specific and clear tasks. This prevents confusion and streamlines the process.
Providing support for your team is important in effective delegation. A leader must continue to be a part of the delegated process to provide feedback and assistance to team members. A leader should not simply delegate tasks and then step away. As the project unfolds, be a part of the ongoing process. Delegate tasks, but stay involved. Supporting your team with feedback lets the team know you’re invested in their work and prevents the project from getting too far off track.
When delegating, remember to be patient with your employees. Working in a team requires the unification of many moving parts. During the process, bumps in the road are sure to happen, especially in larger teams managing larger projects. During a tight deadline, it is easy for a leader to adopt a rushed demeanor. Making your work team feel rushed will only make the end result suffer. Remain calm and collected during these stressful periods. Your work team will adopt the same mentality and their work will improve as a result.
Today, modern technology is invaluable in the process of delegating tasks. Free and instant communication through direct messaging and emailing helps two-way communication. Video chatting through Facetime or Skype can help take the place of physical business meetings. Utilizing technology can also streamline tasks and quicken results. Using file-sharing techniques through cloud-based technology can allow for groups to work together on a project and share individual contributions more effectively with one another.
Never micromanage. Micromanaging is the bane of delegation. No employee wants a boss constantly in their ear, after already being given a portion of responsibility to handle on their own. Once you delegate responsibility to a team member, step away and let them do their job. Constantly interfering in their process is going to make you, and your employees resent the whole process.
Delegate for the WRONG reasons
As a leader, it is important to delegate responsibly. Don’t delegate tasks that you should be doing as the leader or tasks that you don’t want to do yourself. Delegate according to ability, matching your team with tasks that are best suited to their personal skill set. You should be aware of your team’s capabilities, and be able to correctly divide the tasks of a project according to everyone’s capabilities.
When setting a timeline for a project, always allow ample and realistic time frames for tasks to be completed. Setting rushed timelines to speed the process along will render poor results, and will make the project uncomfortable for everyone involved (including yourself). Early on in the process, identify the deadline, and allocate tasks in a reasonable time frame.
Delegation is one of the most important skills a leader can utilize. Proper delegation creates a happy and productive team with well-defined tasks and time frames. Poor delegation creates a stressful environment and can destroy work team morale. Stay focused, remain calm, and clearly explain what the project needs and what you need early on in the process. Step away and allow your employees to work, remaining present for feedback and support. Following these tips will make you a better leader, a better organizer, and ultimately, create a better workplace for all.