How to delegate (like a boss)

Though it may not seem like it, a lot of strength is required to ask for the help of others. Many managers even go so far as to avoid delegating, as they perceive it as shifting responsibility. 

However delegating is not only important to relieve your own overflowing schedule, but also ensure your team has a productive workload that challenges their abilities.

The truth is, delegation is an art to be mastered. Once you learn how to do it, and do it well, each working day will be more streamlined and successful for everyone involved.

How to delegate like a boss

Organise your tasks

Start by making a thorough list of all of your regular tasks. Then, mark the tasks that are best handled by you having regard for your skill-set, seniority and areas of expertise. For the remaining tasks, consider the skills, strengths and attitudes of your team members in addition to their areas of development, and delegate those tasks to them.

What about those tasks that aren’t perfectly suited to any of your team members? This could be a great opportunity to invest in their learning and development, and approach them about learning new skills and expanding their knowledge.

Spend some initial one-on-one time getting them up to speed (with the goal that they can run this task independently soon after), or consider looking into online short courses to boost their confidence in a particular area so your staff feels empowered and not burdened.

Consider when to delegate

Delegation can be very successful when done right, however it doesn’t mean that every task should be delegated. If you can say ‘Yes’ to each of the below, then delegation could be the right option:

  • You have enough time to brief, train, answer questions and review the end result
  • The task doesn’t have long-term significance that a manager would be made accountable for
  • This task provides an opportunity for your employee to grow and develop
  • It is a recurring task, so your employee can learn the ropes and take on the long-term responsibility

If the task has long-term significance and is something that a manager should be responsible for (such as recruiting new staff), it’s likely that delegation is not the most appropriate action and this is a task you should tackle yourself.

Assign the most appropriate people

Delegating will only be effective if you’ve assigned the right people for the job. Consider each individual’s work style, what their long-term goals and interests are, and whether they have the time and capacity to take on more work. Make sure the work you have in mind for each person is aligned to their best interests and will help them prosper in their role.

Approach your staff

When delegating tasks to your team members, it’s important to communicate clearly to get the best result. Make sure to articulate the desired outcome, the limitations, the lines of authority and who is accountable for what.

The most prized leaders are those that communicate effectively, so if you think you could scrub up on this skill, take a short online course in interpersonal communication. It’s a manager’s must!

Review the delegated tasks

There’s no point in delegating if the tasks aren’t accomplished to the standard you would do them yourself. Set time aside to review the work and give constructive feedback so your team members can improve next time. Make sure that your team members understand you have a vested interest in their success, and that you are here to support them throughout these tasks. Don’t forget to offer recognition and rewards when there’s a job well done.