“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” ~ Jessica Jackley

Managing effectively is about getting things done through people.  Delegation is about giving these people appropriate things to do.  If you do not delegate you are neglecting one of the most indispensable tools of management.

Prioritise your tasks

List the assignments you might delegate in priority orders.  To qualify for this list, a task should be taking too much of your own time, be a low-level responsibility compared with your other duties, and be appropriate for your employee to do.  You don’t delegate just to dodge work!

Define the task

For each task define:

  • The expected results;
  • How the task should be approached;
  • The limits of authority;
  • The necessary timelines.
Select the right people

Know the talents and ability of your staff.  In considering the right people, consider factors such as ability, training, motivation and time to complete the task successfully.

Conduct a thorough briefing

For self-preservation and to avoid endless frustration, when handing over the assignments, ensure that you:

  • Allocate sufficient time for the briefing;
  • Meet in private and without interruptions;
  • Delineate the scope of the job, the timeline, results sought and funding;
  • Encourage questions to clarify the task;
  • Compliment the employees on previous successes and transmit confidence in future accomplishments.
Delegate appropriate authority

In the initial briefing, you must delegate appropriate authority.  Set the parameters clearly and establish controls to ensure this authority will be properly used.

Keep lines of communication open

Ensure the delegates know that they can discuss with you any unforeseen obstacles to the completion of the task.  The first approach should be from them.

Monitor progress unobtrusively

From the outset, keep an eye on your delegates’ progress without intruding.  If necessary, set up in advance checkpoints for progress reporting.  As the delegates prove themselves, tactfully withdraw.

Reward performance

Be appreciative of tasks well done.  A public acknowledgement is generally warranted.  Granting greater authority and prestige, or even a promotion is even more welcome.

Delegate as part of a master plan

Delegation should be part of the process of planned growth for your organisation.  Through delegation, staff growth in competence and confidence and the organisation will benefit in the long run.