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How to Delegate Tasks to The Right Employee & at the Right Time

If you’re that manager who wants everything to be perfect, we understand you’ll feel hesitant to delegate your responsibilities to somebody else.

But success is a mutual contribution of you, your teams, and your employees.

So it’s OK to ask for support from others when you have too much on your plate. It’s OK to pass the baton.

You just need to know how to delegate tasks effectively and properly. And this post is here to help you with that.

Why Managers Are Hesitant to Delegate

how to delegate tasks to employees

Only they can fully understand what’s going on

Managers often understand their business goals and strategies most. It seems easier if they just do the tasks themselves because they feel like only they can fully understand what’s going on and what to do.

More time for training and explaining

Delegating to other people means managers have to explain things and conduct training. This sounds time-consuming at first. But it’s a necessary step to avoid back-and-forth fixing and adjustments later on.

Large projects require the contribution and skills of different team members. You can finish them all by yourself.

Besides, delegating tasks means you’re giving your staff opportunities to develop their potential and skills.

Your staff will feel involved if you show them trust and confidence that they’re able to do the job. And involved employees are more likely to stay with your company.

Some are perfectionists

how to delegate tasks for perfectionists

Some managers are perfectionists. They want the job done perfectly. And it’s hard to find employees who can complete the job as perfectly as they expected. “So why delegate? I can just do it myself.”

If you’re this type of manager, you need to assess whether the tasks are worth the perfectionism.

Can you come back and refine it later? Do you have to lower your expectations in a realistic way? Are the tasks worth your time and effort?

As a manager, you need to invest your time and skills into the bigger picture instead of timid and tiny details.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Delegating Tasks

You can’t just throw random tasks to your staff one morning and expect them to do a perfect job. So when should you delegate tasks? Here are some factors to consider.

  • Is this a task that can be delegated? Can it be successfully completed if delegated?
  • Does the task require certain knowledge/expertise/qualifications/skills? Or do you have to do it yourself?
  • Does the task require training? Do you have to provide necessary information?
  • Do you have to complete the task before a certain time? If you’re working on a project with tight deadlines, then delegating is a must.
  • Can the project be done with the expected quality if you delegate tasks to others?

The questions above are good suggestions to help you when considering delegating tasks to your employees.

Who to Delegate to?

There are 3 things you should consider when choosing the right person to delegate tasks:

1. The knowledge, skills, qualifications, expertise, or qualifications required for the task

Is this person qualified enough to complete the task? Do they need training or explanation?

2. The workload and time bank of this person

Is the person available for more work? Do they have to transfer their personal task to someone else in order to complete the delegated task?

3. The preference of this person

What’s their work style? Do their interests align with the delegated task? Are they willing to take the delegated task?

How to Delegate Tasks Properly and Effectively?

1. Be clear about your expectations

You should express what you expect the final results of the task to be. This makes the task less ambiguous to your staff.

Delegate to people who are best suited for the task so that they can easily understand work requirements. Plus, they have the chance to develop their skills and abilities.

Explain the reasons why you choose certain people for the job. Let them know you trust and delegate to them because of their ability.

2. Be clear about what to do

Don’t just throw tasks at your employees and expect things to turn out your way. Answer these questions before they ask you:

  • What should be done? How?
  • Should they report to you?
  • Should they ask you questions?
  • Should they wait for your response?
  • How often should they report the results to you?

3. Be clear about the details of the delegated ask

Are there any deadlines? If it’s a project, is there a timeline for it?

Establish checkpoints when you check in with the employee to review the progress and results of the task.

4. Be available to give support and answers

how to delegate tasks properly to employees by always be available for Q&A

When you’re delegating your tasks to someone else, be there to give guidance, support, and answers to questions that arise.

Let employees know you’re there if they have questions or if problems occur. Don’t let them question whether they should ask you this and that.

5. Be careful when reviewing the results

Don’t accept the results until you’re fully satisfied with them.

If you compromise with the unfulfilled results right from the beginning, the results you receive later on might never match your expectations.

Let your employees learn and complete the job properly so they know what quality you ask for.

If the results are excellent, don’t forget to show recognition and give rewards. This motivates your employees and boosts their performance. And it’s a win-win situation.

Tips for Delegating Tasks Effectively

how to delegate tasks effectively

1. Cut employees and yourself some slack

If the delegatee doesn’t complete the task as perfectly and quickly as you expected, cut them and yourself some slack. They’re new to the work, so they’ll learn and become better.

2. Focus on the results

Focus on the results rather than the progress. Your employees may have better solutions to a task. If you already trust a person enough to delegate, you need to let that person take control.

Micromanagement shows you don’t trust employees, but it doesn’t mean you should let them do whatever they want. Actively monitor the employees’ progress because sometimes things may go wrong. It’s a matter of balancing things.

3. Avoid upward delegation

Avoid upward delegation (back delegation/reverse delegation). This happens when an employee returns the task back to you because of difficulties or problems.

It wastes your time and ruins the entire purpose of task delegation. Remember that you delegate tasks because you want more time for important things.

So the next time you spot this behavior, ask for recommended solutions from the employee. Provide support, but don’t try to do it all.

4. Show recognition and give rewards

You should discuss the benefits the employees can get from the delegated task. It can be a small bonus, incentives, verbal and public recognition, or improvement opportunities.

This way the employee doesn’t view the task as something they have to do, but view it as a commitment, contribution, and involvement.

Ready to be a smart delegator?

There’s no doubt that delegating tasks can be a hassle at first. But once things are figured out, you’ll see a huge amount of workload has been put off your shoulders.

Now you have some understanding of how to delegate tasks properly and effectively. Next time you want to pass the baton, you know what to do. So roll up your sleeves and be a smart delegator.

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