The Art Of Delegation

by Yvonne Ruke Akpoveta

Are you struggling to get as much as possible done in a day? As a manager, entrepreneur or someone in charge of your own work, delegation can be the difference maker in being more successful both in the short and long term. While hours in a day are finite, the things we want done can seem infinite.

I had to recently force myself to delegate some tasks in order to see progress with my goals and growth of my practice. I started the year wanting to accomplish so much, however, come February, I found myself struggling, so I revisited my plan. Come March, I was still struggling, and had to face the fact that I had too many tasks on my plate, and for me to be successful come end of 2014, I would need to either let go of some items, or delegate.

For some, delegating tasks can be a huge task in itself. Perhaps it is our need to hold on to what we consider to be ‘too important’ to let someone else do it, fear it may not be done ‘as good’ as you would, or having experienced failure in delegating work in the past. While some of these reasons may seem valid, once you learn the art of delegating properly, it becomes easier and enables us achieve more in less time. Below are 5 tips to help you delegate more effectively so you can free up more of your time to do what you do best and should be doing.

art of delegation

1. Choose Wisely
When it comes to choosing which tasks to delegate, choose tasks that only you can and should do. In my Mastermind Groups on John Maxwell’s “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” book, John shares his 3Rs strategy in the Law of Priorities that you can also use. “What Is Required? What Gives The Greatest Return? and What Brings The Greatest Reward?” Get rid of tasks that you can’t do, not interested in doing, or someone can do even 80% as well as you, but brings less reward or return on time invested.

2. Have a System
Know what, when and who to delegate to. Effectively plan your time daily and in advance so you know what YOU need to do, what other items still need to be done, and by when. Know your team or colleagues well; know their strengths, interests, skills etc. Armed with this knowledge, you are better delegate tasks to the right individuals and at the right time. Other systems include the Pareto 80:20 Principle from John Maxwell, where focusing on the top 20% of your activities will give you 80% of your results.

3. Empower Your Team and Colleagues
Before delegating, ensure the individual has the ability, is provided clear directions, and has been empowered to use their initiative and make decisions when needed. Start by providing the required training or hiring the right resource after proper interviewing. Spend time with them at the beginning to help ingrain the culture, vision, value and goals; this helps them to more easily take the right actions as needed. Provide clear instructions along with tasks striking that fine balance between being too vague and micro-managing. Be open to the fact they may choose a different route to arrive at the finish line. And be willing to give them the benefit of doubt if not done right the first time.

4. Balance the Workload
Delegate workload evenly. In many organizations, there are often the few “go-tos” when it comes to task delegation, which can result in these employees becoming overburdened, overworked, and deadlines being missed. Be willing to trust others, and cross-train the team in order to empower more people to deliver and also building a stronger team.

5. Give Credit When Credit is Due
Always be gracious and thankful when the individual gets the task done, and openly give them credit so that everyone can acknowledge their hard work. It builds trust, helps them feel valued, and not only will this inspire them to continue to work hard, it will also inspire others to have that same attitude and become more productive.