November 2, 2015 · soft skills

Soft Skill Tip of the Week - Delegation

You can't do it all; even though you think you can. At a certain point, you need to delegate parts of the job to other capable people. The good news is that you can always improve your delegation skills. Here's a few suggestions.

Why is Delegation Important?

Delegation allows you to spend time doing more important work

When you look at your list of tasks, is their something you're doing over and over that you could easily train someone else to do? Sounds like a candidate for delegation. This frees you up to focus on more important work.

Delegation gives opportunities for others to grow and succeed

When you get promoted, someone else is going to take your spot. Why not groom your replacement. Give this person tasks that you know will be important for them to grow and succeed.

Other employees might be better at the tasks than you are

It's hard to believe. Other people are better are certain tasks than you are. If you are in charge of setting up a test plan for each software release, find someone better suited for the job. They'll produce better results and you'll be the genius that made it happen.

How to Delegate

Be clear about the task

When you give items for other people to work, you have to be clear on what you want. If it's an expense report, make sure they understand the format, and anything in particular the accounting department needs. The last thing you want to do is to have to constantly fix problems because you weren't clear in the first place.

Tell the employee what they should learn

You're not just delegating for the fun of it. If you don't tell the employee what they'll learn by doing the task and WHY it's important, then you've wasted everyone's time. Without the WHY and WHAT, the delegation is empty.

Ask employees for their ideas

One of my previous bosses used to say, "if I were doing it, I'd do it this way." And then I'd offer my suggestion on what to do. He would repeat, "if I were doing it, I'd do it this way." It was very frustrating to be asked to do a task and then not allowed to approach it in my own manner. He trusted me to implement a task but not use my own ways on how to do it.

Remember, it's good to offer suggestion on how you think it should be done, but make sure you listen to other ideas. Just because you've always done it that way is not a reason to keep doing it.

Give credit

If someone does a great job, make sure everyone else knows. When they make you look good, return the favor.

Delegation is a difficult skill that most of us struggle with. What strategies do you use to help?

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