There is no doubt that learning to delegate is an important part of leadership but the art of delegation may be quite a bit more difficult than it may seem at first glance. Ultimately, leaders are responsible for the performance of their team, so any failure still falls at the feet of the leader that delegated that task. Here are three tips to delegating effectively.
- Check in regularly but don’t micromanage
One reason for delegating is to free up some of your time to focus on other things. It doesn’t do you a whole lot of good to delegate a task if you spend the same amount of time supervising someone else doing the task as you would have just doing it yourself. Conversely, however, it is important to check in as often as necessary to make sure the task is actually on track for completion by the time you need it done.
- Remember that your way is not the only way, or even the best way
Very often when you delegate a task, it is something you yourself have done in the past. In fact, it may be something you did so often that you developed a specific way of doing it. When you delegate it to someone else, they may choose to do it a different way. While you may be able to tell someone exactly how to do things your way, there may be something of a learning curve for someone experimenting with doing it a different way. Do set guidelines, expectations, deadlines and parameters but make sure you give people plenty of space and latitude to find their own best way.
- Don’t set people up for failure
Too often, leaders will simply delegate tasks without taking the time to ensure that the person they are delegating them to is actually up to the task or has the resources to accomplish it. For instance, you might delegate the task of picking something up to someone who doesn’t drive or doesn’t have a car. In some cases, it might be embarrassing to them to bring this up, so they might not. It may be too late before you discover you assigned them a task that was beyond their ability to deliver.