An Executive’s Guide to Delegating Tasks Effectively

One of the hardest things about project management is delegating tasks effectively. It doesn’t look hard at first. After all, you just need to hand out projects or tasks to the right people. But, it gets complicated when you don’t know who should take on what responsibilities at what time.

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Why Should You Delegate?

As a leader, you can’t, and shouldn’t, handle everything yourself. At some point, you’ll have too much to do and little time to spend on the things that matter, like growing your business. Maybe you’ve already reached that point. Either way, you need to identify who can handle what.

If you don’t have a team large enough to delegate effectively, you can hire a personal or executive assistant. Although both jobs are similar to each other, this personal assistant vs. executive assistant article goes more in-depth on how they may benefit your organization.

Whether you hire a freelancer or employee, remotely or in-office, delegation will lighten your workload and show your employees that you trust and respect them to handle your tasks.

Why is Delegating Difficult?

There are many benefits of delegating, but you may have a hard time doing so. To start, delegating isn’t “passing off work,” especially when you don’t have enough time to do it. 

Delegation can make your workload more manageable and can set you up as a leader. Still, the nervousness related to “letting go” may come from the idea that your employees aren’t capable of handling your tasks or that it will take longer. Or, maybe you think you can do it better. 

If you take the time to train your employees, you’ll eventually recoup the time spent teaching said task. Your employees want to help you; you just need to equip them with the tools to do so.

How Should You Delegate?

If you haven’t delegated in the past or don’t know how to do so effectively, you may not know how to share your workload. 

Here are a few quick tips on how to start your delegation journey.

  1. Find the right person for the job based on their strengths and skills
  2. Explain why you’re delegating the task and how you hope to see them grow
  3. Provide instructions for what they should do and what you want them to achieve
  4. Offer resources and training, if necessary, or allow them to shadow
  5. Delegate both responsibility and authority; avoid micromanaging
  6. Check their work and provide constructive, specific feedback
  7. Say “thank you” and let them know how grateful you are for their work

Stay positive throughout the delegation process. You may feel nervous, and that could rub off on your employees. Let them know that this is a new experience for you, and you need to adjust.

When Should You Delegate?

Knowing what tasks you should and shouldn’t delegate can make the process easier. 

Managers should audit their tasks beforehand to see if they fit in the following categories:

  • Time-consuming tasks that can be broken down into smaller chunks
  • Small tasks that don’t take a lot of time to complete but can pile up
  • Tedious tasks that require little skill but have to be done frequently
  • Tasks you’re terrible at but refuse to learn how to do or let go
  • Tasks that are easy to teach and don’t usually require certification
  • Tasks that are time-sensitive and you need help to complete them

On the other hand, there are a few tasks that shouldn’t be delegated to other staff members:

  • Tasks that involve crisis management as they’re very important
  • Boring tasks that could demotivate employees or affect morale
  • Tasks that are confidential and could damage your reputation
  • Hiring-based tasks if the employee isn’t a recruiter or HR professional
  • Tasks that are very specific, highly detailed, or need to be exact

Even if you love a task, you may want to delegate it if it takes up too much time or it isn’t a part of your new job description. You also can’t pass off important tasks, even if you dislike them.

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