As a business owner or leader within a company, one of your most important responsibilities is learning how to delegate effectively. There’s no way you can do all the work of the company single-handedly, and as your to-do list grows, eventually, you’ll need an outlet to handle some of your least important or most tedious tasks.
Through delegation, you’ll be able to set better priorities for the work you handle personally, you’ll free up more time throughout your day, and you may even end up with better results for the tasks you assign. However, if you want to be effective, you’ll need to learn how to delegate more effectively.
Choose the Right People (or Hire the Right Company)
Possibly the most important factor in your success is going to be choosing the right people to help take over your tasks, whether that be employees or hiring an outside company. If you delegate a task to someone who can’t handle it, it’s not going to get done, or it will be done in an ineffective way, so finding the right person or company is key.
When delegating tasks to employees or team members, this usually means analyzing and considering the strengths and weaknesses of each individual. For example, if someone is very skilled at handling financial tasks, you should feel free to assign them your financial work. If someone has a light workload, they can take on more of your responsibilities than someone who’s already overwhelmed.
When hiring a company, you’ll need to consider a number of different factors. For starters, companies are better suited for tasks you know you’ll need to delegate regularly; this way, you’re not bogging down employees with new tasks constantly. The company you hire should specialize in the type of task you’re trying to delegate; for example, if you’re looking to handle property-related responsibilities, hiring a property management company could be the right move. You’ll also need to consider things like price, the terms of your agreement, and your working relationship.
Understand Your Own Strengths, Weaknesses, and Priorities
If you’re going to delegate effectively, you’ll also need to spend time understanding your own strengths, weaknesses, and personal priorities. Generally speaking, you’ll want to keep tasks for yourself that you’re best at; your day should be filled with the work that keeps you most engaged and most productive. Conversely, you should be delegating the tasks you’re not good at doing, or those that are far beneath your skill and experience level.
You’ll also want to consider your priorities, based on the urgency and importance of each task. How imperative is it that this task gets done soon? How much of an impact will it have on your organization? Using an Eisenhower Matrix here can help you determine which tasks matter most.
Communicate the Parameters Clearly
If you delegate a task, but don’t communicate instructions clearly, you’re going to end up redoing the task or wasting time in some other way. It might take a bit more time to assign the task, but be thorough in your parameters and expectations. Explain exactly what the task is, how you want it done, and when you need it done by—preferably in writing. Encourage your assignee to ask questions if they’re confused about anything.
Provide Ongoing Resources and Training (When Necessary)
Not everyone will have the skills, training, or experience necessary to accomplish your work perfectly as intended. Accordingly, you should be prepared to provide people with training, education, and additional resources when necessary. Sometimes, that means a brief one-on-one coaching session. Other times, it means pointing someone to a tutorial.
Trust, but Verify
When assigning a task to someone, you should trust that they’re going to handle it in a competent manner. After all, you’ve followed our earlier advice and have chosen the best possible candidate for this task. However, you still need to verify that the work is being done as intended. Periodically, before the deadline, set automatic reminders to check in and make sure things are still going according to plan. And when the work is done, spend some time double checking the work to ensure it was done properly.
Express Gratitude and Positively Reinforce Your Relationships
Finally, take the time to express gratitude and build positive relationships with your assignees. Making people feel appreciated, and improving your working relationship will make it far easier to delegate in the future. This is especially important if you plan to delegate assignments regularly this way.
As you practice delegation, remain adaptable in your approach. Listen to feedback you receive from employees, vendors, and other parties to whom you’re delegating, and incorporate that feedback in your future delegation attempts. Similarly, pay attention to the delegated tasks that seem to go well and the ones that go poorly. What were the differences in your approaches? How can you improve your overall approach in the future?