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Learning to delegate - managing a workload within your team

Successful delegation is crucial to improving results and critical when it comes to team operation. However, it’s not something that comes easily to many of us. If you’re keen to be a successful manager then learning to delegate is going to be a key skill. Why is delegation important?
  • Fostering team cooperation and sharing responsibility
  • Enabling more work to be completed in less time
  • Keeping team members engaged
  • Building team capacity
  • Avoiding overwork or imbalanced workloads
  • Developing effective management style

Learning how to delegate

There are many different ways to engage with delegation and ensure that your team is functioning effectively. A basic formula for success involves six key steps:

Define what you’re asking for

This is a crucial step in the delegation process, as it’s virtually impossible for anyone to deliver on a task that has been delegated to them if that task hasn’t been properly defined. What is the task, what is required and what results and expectations are involved?

Communicate the task

Once you’ve defined the task then the way it is communicated will also be key. It’s often easier to use the same framework every time, including key features such as budget, timing and task context, as well as when and how updates and progress will be managed.

Make sure that the communication is complete

Does the person you’re delegating the task to understand what is being asked of them? It only requires a short conversation to ensure that the message has been received and the task properly understood but it’s this stage that is so often skipped. You may want to avoid asking staff to repeat back to you what you’ve said – which can feel patronising. It’s often simpler to ask question to test knowledge or ask the person what their next steps will be to ensure that you’ve been understood.

Ensure that there is acceptance

It may be that steps 3 and 4 end up happening together but it’s crucially important to ensure that the person you’re delegating to has accepted the task and aligned their goals and objectives with yours. Are they committed to doing this and do they also understand what the consequences are of getting it wrong i.e. not completing the task on time or doing some or all of it without care and attention?

Once you’ve delegated a task don’t take it back

Delegation has to be a permanent move so once you’ve assigned the task and it has been accepted nothing should trigger its reversal back onto your plate. If someone is struggling with a delegated task then support them through it, help them with suggestions, ideas and resources – but ensure that the responsibility for completion remains firmly with the person it was delegated to.

Communicate throughout the process

Getting to a key date and finding that a delegated task isn’t going to be complete isn’t exactly the ideal scenario. Maintain communicating throughout the process so that the person handling the task is held accountable from start to finish and feels the need to deliver to expectations. We offer a 1 day delegation workshop to help you to hone this most important of management skills. We will cover all the essential delegation skills, cemented by a live practice with feedback. Get in touch today to find out more details.