Knowing when to delegate and why it’s so important may not come naturally to everyone. It is, however, an important skill that does much more than just allowing you to achieve a healthier work and personal life integration.

If done right, understanding when to delegate will not just increase productivity and growth, but will also build your team’s confidence. It will show them you trust them, and boost their opportunities for professional development.

When to delegate is an important skill- Photo Credit- Alexander Suhorucov-Pexels
When to delegate is an important skill- Photo Credit- Alexander Suhorucov-Pexels

However, knowing when to delegate and doing so effectively is not always easy. It’s not just about reducing your workload, but about knowing your team, their strengths, and weaknesses so well that you’ll also find ways to challenge them and provide the right chances for them to grow. If done strategically, delegation will allow you to relax in the knowledge that your team has your back and let you concentrate on your own growth as well.

Being unwilling to delegate will affect not just your team’s productivity but also your own energy levels and ability to keep up with work. It’ll also create trust issues, limit everyone’s potential, and hinder any chance of you becoming a leader interested in mentoring and shaping up stronger teams.

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Why is Delegation Important

  • It will help you focus on the most important tasks by freeing up some time. You won’t be overworked and that will make you far more willing to help and provide feedback to those who have taken tasks off your hands.
  • Taking on some of those tasks will offer team members stretch assignments where they may learn how to handle different scenarios. And hopefully, this will eventually lead to promotions.
  • Delegating a task can be a reward to prove you trust someone. This can make team members feel valued and thus, foster engagement.
  • Being able to delegate clearly and successfully will also improve your own coaching and mentoring abilities, as well as help you identify strengths and weaknesses, and reinforce your communication skills.
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When and What to Delegate

Knowing when to delegate can be tricky. There’s much more to it than just dumping your workload on someone on your team in order to have a little more time. Delegating can provide important teaching opportunities that should be put to good use. If you succeed, you’ll find yourself in a more committed and productive team that feels challenged, relied upon, and is not afraid to lean on each other to get the best possible results.

It might take some time for you to get to know your team well enough to delegate effectively. It won’t happen overnight, so be patient. Take the time to know everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. Once you do, it’ll be easier to know who the best candidates are for each task and who could use a little more practice in particular areas.

According to Dr. Scott Williams, professor of management at Wright State University, “Employees who feel that they are trusted and respected tend to have a higher level of commitment to their work, their organization, and especially their manager. In addition, effective delegation requires subordinates’ input during the delegation process.  When subordinates participate in making decisions that pertain to their work, they tend to have a greater sense of ownership of the work and increased commitment to its successful completion.”

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Learning when to delegate is critical for your career - Photo Credit Pexels
Learning when to delegate is critical for your career – Photo Credit Pexels

A Few Rules to Follow

1Choose strategically: Know your team and their strengths. Knowing who is the best candidate to take up on a task is important, try to give people who need a little more practice a chance and let everyone grow. Some people might need a little more effort to get it right and you should know when to provide those opportunities.

2Be clear: About not just the project, but what your expectations are. This will help people plan to meet those expectations.

3Provide support and resources: Make sure that the people who have been assigned a task have everything they need to complete it successfully. It may take more time and extra planning, but providing teammates with courses and tools to build and strengthen skills will work to everyone’s advantage on the long run. Take the time to provide some mentoring and guidance.

4Be encouraging: Make sure you are communicating with everyone and be open to feedback and suggestions on how to make your team feel considered and heard. Having their back will make them much more passionate when it comes to having yours.

5Provide feedback: Publicly congratulate team members or groups who have taken on a delegated task successfully. If there’s any extra feedback, set up a meeting or one-on-one to make sure they know their work is appreciated, and which areas could use some improvement.

6Not everything can be delegated: This will depend on what it is you do, but it’s obvious that not everything can or should be delegated. The American Management Association recommends you avoid delegating tasks that: “are sensitive and personal in nature; require a degree of risk and decision making that is unfair to the delegate; require your personal expertise; require your personal leadership; or/and have legal restrictions.”

7Don’t forget to say thanks

Aline Cerdan Verástegui

Aline Cerdan Verástegui

Mexico City-born freelance writer, translator, ghostwriter, editor and Red Shoe Movement contributor with a love of live music and graphic novels. Has collaborated with Yahoo!, Blouin Artinfo, Yahoo! en Español, Savvy Heels, Morelia International Film Festival (FICM) among others.

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