How to successfully lead and delegate tasks

The myth of the paperless office
May 4, 2018
Jeff Bezos, “the consumer visionary”
May 10, 2018
lead and delegate tasks

One of the most difficult skills to master as you rise in seniority is also one of the most essential skills for any successful leader or manager: the art of delegation. 

Business Optimizer Teams gives you a few tips on how to you can exercise your leadership skills successfully.

One of the biggest hurdles when it comes to delegation is accepting you need to do it.

When highly successful and ambitious people have excelled through their own hard work and talent, it can be hard to let go.  But learning to let go is vital.

We tend to view successful entrepreneurs as individual genii – but this misses a big part of the picture.  What people like Elon Musk are very, very good at is in bringing the best talent together and inspiring teams to do their best work. 

If you’re struggling to let go, consider these essential tips to help you gain confidence in your delegation skills and delegate successfully.

#1.  Know what to delegate.  Which tasks can easily be picked up by other people?  Which specifically need your input?  Focus on making the best use of the time and abilities of yourself and your team.

#2.  Choose the right people.  Who in your existing team has the right skills?  How can you support the teams you are delegating work to develop their skills? 

#3.  Articulate clearly.  Just because you know what needs to be done, it doesn’t mean the person to whom you are delegating understands as well.  Take time to brief clearly, identify potential friction points together and be available to answer questions.  Two-way communication method is key.

#4.  Maintain control.  Don’t just brief and go.  Agree on a schedule for progress updates.

#5.  Don’t micromanage.  Equally, you need to give people the freedom to excel.  Don’t be tempted to interfere just because your team member isn’t tackling the task the way you would – assess the output.  Be there to support, not criticize.

#6. Put in place the right support.  If this is the first time you delegate this task, what are the implications of failure?  What can you put in place to mitigate the impact and reduce the risk of failure?  Ensure you have the right coaching and monitoring in place and allow some slack in the schedule.

#7.  Play the long game.  Remember, if this is a regular task, over time the risks of delegation will reduce as your team gain experience and skills.  By sharing the responsibility for these tasks, you are helping your team to develop important skills and confidence, reach their potential and their loyalty to your organization.

#8.  Be a good manager.  The buck stops with you.  A good manager shields her team when things go wrong, but makes sure her team gets recognition when things go well.

Apply these tips and you will gain greater confidence in letting go.  Remember: delegation isn’t just good for your team; it’s good for you too.