When running your own business, it’s tempting to take on every responsibility. There are many reasons why: because you want something done a specific way, you don’t have time to explain how it needs to be done, or you’re unsure someone else can handle the task. Being able to improve your delegation abilities is important to becoming a more effective leader.
Delegating will save you valuable time and energy. Sharing duties between your team also develops them with a sense of responsibility, engages them and helps them develop their skills.
Here are six tips to help you improve your delegation skills.
Know when to delegate
If you’re like many people, you want to hold onto as many tasks as you can and only begin delegating once you feel overwhelmed or too worn out to take on more. It’s good to get used to delegating before you get burnt out, so you can choose which tasks to hand off to others more appropriately and effectively. You may have to begin by assigning small, low-stakes tasks, especially if delegating makes you uncomfortable.
Here are questions to ask yourself before you delegate:
- Is it vital that you complete the task (be honest about this, do you really need to be the person to take this on)?
- Is there a team member who has the relevant experience, skills, or interests to take it on?
- Would there be someone else keen to do it?
- Can you allocate time to give detailed information about the task (if necessary)?
- Are you available to monitor progress?
Match the task to the appropriate person
Business owners will often delegate a task by finding someone who has time to do it. Team members have strengths just like you do. When you delegate, make sure to consider who is the person most suited to it based on their level of knowledge or experience, skills, and interests. Unless you have no other option, try not to push someone into a task they have no experience or interest in.
Make sure the delegated individual understands what’s being asked of them
You may understand what needs to be done, but your team won’t necessarily. Spend time with the team members involved to ensure they’re on board as well. They need to know the goals or objectives, how the task will be completed, what success looks like, and your expectations.
Make sure there is room for your team members to come back with any questions or concerns they might have. Check on them yourself to see how they’re progressing and what support they may need. Discuss any challenges they may have and celebrate their successes. If there are milestones or deadlines, check periodically to ensure all activities are still on track.
Coach team members through barriers
Where possible, avoid taking a task back. It’s tempting to step in when team members encounter an obstacle, especially when an activity is time-sensitive. Doing so prevents them from learning and growing. Instead, coach your team members through the challenges. Make sure they have the knowledge and support needed to complete their task.
When delegating, it’s important for you to follow up with constructive feedback that celebrates what went well and provides insights for improvement. Be prepared to accept feedback yourself, as your team might have ideas about how the activity could have gone more smoothly, perhaps with more thorough instructions or by delegating to someone else.
By delegating tasks to others, you are helping them develop their skills and knowledge while taking responsibility off your hands. If you find delegation difficult, it’s worthwhile to consider what’s holding you back and work to overcome your hesitations, one task at a time.
If you have any questions, on how you could improve your delegation, feel free to Join the conversation…