Trying to juggle different tasks simultaneously is akin to solving multiple puzzles at once, which ultimately hampers concentration on any single task or puzzle.
This not only consumes time but also yields no tangible outcomes.
For managers, it’s a common challenge to have multiple responsibilities. This can lead to difficulty in concentrating on or prioritizing essential tasks, causing feelings of overwhelm due to a heavy workload. Failing to understand effective delegation can hinder the success of the team, as well as that of the whole organization.
This article delves into the art of effective delegation, and explores its benefits, key factors involved in successful delegation, and its contribution to a team’s and organization’s success.
Understanding Effective Delegation
Delegation is not about merely getting rid of tasks or allocating them; it is a fundamental leadership skill. It’s important to distinguish between delegation and allocation: allocation involves merely assigning tasks to a team member without much consideration, whereas effective delegation involves assigning tasks to specific individuals who can execute them successfully, much like you would.
Delegation aims to bring your team’s hidden potential to the surface. It’s about understanding what your team knows and how well they can handle a particular task.
Factors Hindering Delegation
Managers often hesitate to delegate their tasks to their team members because of various reasons:
- The temptation of doing the tasks themselves (delegation dilemma): Managers are drawn to handling tasks directly instead of delegating, facing the dilemma of handing over control.
- Lack of trust in the abilities of team members: Doubts about team members’ competence hinder delegation, stemming from insufficient confidence in their capabilities.
- Fear of failure (what ifs): Managers are hesitant to delegate because of concerns about potential failures and their consequences.
- Past negative experiences: Previous unfavorable outcomes from delegation influence managers’ reluctance to entrust tasks.
- Delegation incompetence/lack of delegation skills: Managers’ own inadequate delegation skills lead to uncertainty about how to effectively delegate tasks.
Advantages of Effective Delegation
Managers are often advised to delegate more tasks to their team members because of the numerous advantages it offers, and effective delegation is what helps their team succeed. Some of these advantages include:
Focus on what really matters: Effective delegation allows leaders to concentrate on tasks that truly matter for team success, thereby reducing the burden on them. This also leads to effective time management.
Opportunities for team members: Delegation also creates an opportunity box for team members because when you delegate new roles and responsibilities to them, it leads to skill enhancement and enables them to learn valuable skills such as leadership skills and the ability to handle difficult situations. This not only benefits them but also the team as well as the whole organization. Such exposure and experience prepare future leaders for the team.
Improved work-life balance: Delegation helps managers achieve a healthier work-life balance by distributing tasks, allowing them to focus on critical responsibilities and allocate time for personal well-being.
Key Factors for Successful Delegation
Let’s delve into the important components that drive successful delegation:
Task allocation based on skills and interests: Delegate tasks that coordinate with team members’ interests, abilities, and motivation to do the task. If individuals are not motivated to perform the assigned tasks, the desired outcome may not be achieved, which is crucial for the team’s success.
The key to effective delegation lies in selecting the most appropriate individual equipped with the skills and experience necessary to handle the assigned task.
Trust in your team: Building trust takes time, but once it’s established, it brings everyone in the organization closer together. Creating a culture of trust and autonomy allows individuals to take risks, learn to tackle problems, and make their own decisions in the tasks they are given. In such a culture, the team flourishes and leaders become mentors.
Clear communication: The inability to convey clearly can lead to miscommunication, information gaps, and conflicts within the team. On the other hand, clear communication regarding delegated tasks, expectations, deadlines, and desired outcomes enables the team to understand precisely what needs to be done.
Monitoring delegated projects: Monitoring and correcting the delegated project from time to time is essential to know the progress of the project. It is also important to check if the delegatee understands what they are doing and provide honest feedback irrespective of the desired outcome, as this enhances performance and prevents the repetition of mistakes in the future, contributing to the team’s success.
Appreciating and praising delegatees upon successful execution of projects acts as a motivating force, encouraging continuous improvement and excellence.
Mastering the art of effective delegation is essential for effective leadership and team management. Without understanding the art of effective delegation, you may find yourself stuck with overwhelming tasks, which will not contribute to the team’s progress and success. Learning how to delegate empowers you to share workloads and responsibilities strategically which contributes to teams’ success.
Great leaders understand the importance of delegation by giving their team members opportunities to show their abilities. This helps leaders focus on the bigger picture, i.e. what really matters for the team’s success, and it also saves time.
Article by Association of International Project Management Officers (AIPMO®).