Assigning tasks and authority to others

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What is Delegating?

Delegating refers to the process of assigning tasks, duties and decision-making authority to others within an organizational team. It is a focused approach that allows leaders to distribute work based on individuals’ skills, abilities and talents. By delegating tasks to team members, leaders free up time to focus on higher-value activities while also engaging and developing team members and providing greater autonomy.

Delegating - Image of a notebook cover with the word delegating

The Importance of Delegating

Enhanced Productivity: Delegating tasks ensures effective work allocation among team members leading to greater productivity as individuals can focus on their areas of skill leading to higher quality results within short timeframes.

Skill Development: Delegation provides an opportunity to develop skills and professional growth. When leaders give team members new responsibilities, it encourages them to expand their skill set, gain new experiences and develop their abilities, ultimately enhancing personal and career development.

Team Empowerment: Delegating tasks empowers team members by giving them oversight and control around decision making. This promotes a sense of ownership and engagement leading to higher job satisfaction and overall team morale.

Time Management: Effective delegation allows leaders to work effectively and by allocating appropriate tasks to skilled individuals, leaders can prioritize their own work, focus on initiatives at a high level and focus their time on critical decision making and leadership responsibilities.

Benefits of Delegating

Improved Efficiency: Delegating distributes tasks based on abilities, enabling individuals to work on what they do best which leads to improved efficiency and a higher level of output.

Better Decision Making: Delegating enables diverse perspectives and encourages teamwork. When team members actively participate in the decision-making process, they contribute unique insights and ideas, resulting in better decisions.

Effective Time Management: Through delegating routine or less critical tasks, leaders can focus their time and energy on strategic planning, innovation and other high value activities.

Guidelines for Delegating Tasks

Clearly Define Tasks: Clearly communicate the task requirements and expected results to the individual delegated with the task. Provide any necessary instructions, guidance or resources

Match Skills and Expertise: Delegate tasks to individuals who possess the required skills, knowledge, and experience to ensure successful completion, and consider the strengths and development areas of team members when delegating tasks.

Provide Adequate Support: Be available for questions and offer help, support, and resources is to the person delegated with the task.

The Challenges in Delegating Work

Trust and Control: Delegating requires leaders to trust their team members and hand over a certain level of control. It can be difficult to find the right balance between providing oversight and ensuring accountability.

Clear Communication: Effective delegation relies on clear communication of work expectations, deadlines and outcomes. Miscommunication can lead to confusion, delays and result in reduced quality or inaccurate work.

Delegation Overload: Delegating tasks thoughtfully which means ensuring that team members are not burdened with responsibilities beyond their capacity to deliver is important. Overloading individuals can lead to burnout and reduced performance.

Delegating is important in any organization. In fact, in a 2013 Stanford University-led survey, 35% of executives indicated that delegation is something that they need to improve on, while 37% said that they are actively trying to improve their delegation skills.

Example of Delegating

Empowering your employees

Atlantic Properties is a real estate company that has recently hired two new interns, Miguel and Raj. Their manager has been overwhelmed with investment opportunities and has little time to complete other tasks, such as writing proposals and talking with key stakeholders.

Before joining Atlantic Properties, Miguel was a content writer and Raj worked at a call center. The manager decides to use each intern’s strengths, and delegates writing proposals to Miguel , and talking with key stakeholders to Raj. The manager trains both interns on how to successfully complete the tasks and provides clear instructions on how to perform them. Additionally, the manager checks with each intern on a regular basis to make sure they are carrying out their work correctly.

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