The Keys to Effective Delegation

Posted on October 15, 2012.

Are you one of those people whose office could star in TLC’s “Hoarders, Buried Alive”? But you love to tell everyone you know exactly where everything is? Here’s a news flash- you don’t! And if the proverbial “bus” hits you, you won’t.  The reality is that if you can’t manage yourself, you can’t manage others. At least not in the long run. 

Just like those poor people on “Buried Alive”, you too will eventually get buried.  So get organized, and that starts with learning to delegate.

There’re really only 4 keys to effective delegation:

1.     Determine what can be delegated. Establish your priorities by making a list of what impacts your business the most.  Then ask yourself, “What are the tasks that only I can accomplish? “ Delegate the rest. But when you hand off something, you need to be very specific about what you need accomplished.

2.    Determine if the person receiving the task knows how to complete it. Just because they don’t initially know what you know is not an excuse to do it yourself. Take the time to train him or her and give them the tools and education they need to succeed. It may take some time up front, but after awhile, it’s off your plate forever.

3.    Communicate exactly when you need the task completed. Vague timelines like “in a week” or “as soon as possible” mean nothing. You need to be very specific by providing the exact date it’s due. And if it’s the first time you’ve delegated the task, build in enough time to review it.

4.    Explain why you need it.  Everyone wants to know how their work impacts the success of the team or the company.  Delegating a small piece of what impacts the overall business without telling them why it’s important isn’t too motivating to the recipient. People want to know how their work fits in to the bigger picture.

There are a million excuses to not delegate, but only one good reason to delegate. It makes you a better, more effective manager. So spend some time up front and learn to delegate effectively.  If you don’t, the TLC cameras maybe right around the corner.