5 Tips to Rock at Delegating Tasks

December 15, 2015

10:27 am

Delegating tasks is a hard but necessary part of managing a business. However, it can be like pulling teeth for anyone who is a perfectionist, Type A, control freak (feel free to insert your own warmer or fuzzier term).  Sure, you trust your teammates and employees (hopefully), but some things are really hard to entrust to the hands of others.

However, you also know that if you don’t delegate, you will be in the office until 10pm yet again, only to have to wake up and do the same thing tomorrow. Experiences may vary, but if you have a strong team and possess the right communication skills, it shouldn’t be too hard to successfully delegate and end up with a completed task that both you and your delegatee (that’s so not a real word. I don’t care) can be proud of.

If you happen to be lacking in any of the skills necessary to delegate, we’re here to help. Here are 5 tips to make you a better delegator.

1. Make sure to clearly identify the constraints and boundaries of a project.

The person you’re delegating to should know exactly how much freedom and control he/she has over the task or project. Should he/she wait to be told what to do? Give recommendations first then act on them? Act immediately and then report back?

2. Know when to criticize and when to step back.

No one likes a micromanager. If you delegate a task, trust that your team member will come to you if he/she is having questions or challenges. Of course, if it’s an extended project, you should have agreed upon check-in points, but otherwise, wait for the project to be completed before doing any kind of review.

3. Avoid “upward delegation.”

If there is a problem, don’t allow the person to shift responsibility for the task back to you. Ask for recommended solutions; and don’t simply provide an answer. Have open communication and discuss solutions until the right course of action is agreed upon.

4. Know how to communicate revisions.

Maybe the first pass wasn’t up to par and now it’s your job to let your team member know that. Try scheduling an in-person meeting or phone call rather than listing off all of the mistakes in an email. Also, throw in a couple compliments. Let the person know what they have done well in this particular task.

5. Establish and maintain control.

Just because you’re delegating doesn’t mean it’s completely out of your hands. You should be the one setting expectations and deadlines. It’s also you’re job to keep track of progress (but not to the point of micromanaging) and review the results.

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Kristin is an aspiring entrepreneur who is enthusiastically navigating her way through the DC startup space. She has an unending passion for learning and is never satisfied with the status quo. During the day she is an ops, biz dev, and marketing maven for Fission Strategy

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