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Effective Delegating

The most successful managers know when and how to delegate. Delegating isn’t just giving your work to someone else. It involves knowing what work can and should be taken by others. Before you delegate a task or project to another person, you need to be aware of their strengths and weakness to ensure the work is going to someone you can rely on to complete it in a thorough and timely fashion.

Tips for effective delegating:

Don’t be afraid to assign. Deadlines don’t wait for volunteers. Work is serious, and it won’t get done if you never start it, so be willing to ask for help.

Give them what they need to do the job well. This isn’t about you, and it isn’t about control, it’s about empowerment. Never ask someone to help you and then leave them stranded. Make sure they understand the goals and what’s required, and that they are adequately equipped to help.

Be a good instructor. Be willing to help as needed and be supportive. Remember, the individual you’ve chosen may not have all the skills required and may be wary of asking for assistance. Encourage questions up front and take advantage of teachable moments.

Let go and trust. Keep reminding yourself that you’re not the only one who can do the job.

Perfection isn’t necessary. Don’t micro-manage. Outline goals, provide resources and stand back. Remember, you’re most likely delegating to free up time for other things that need to get done.

Stay in touch and monitor progress. Don’t overload the same individual with multiple projects. Even if they’re your assistant or a subordinate, they likely have other work to do. If they don’t report to you, they have other deadlines to consider. Don’t be oblivious to the needs and goals of those to whom you’ve delegated tasks or projects.

Remove obstacles. Often the person to whom you’ve assigned a project will need access to resources that may not be as available or cooperative as they might be for you. Secure their resources early in the project to avoid delays and conflict.

People aren’t always able to help when asked. Don’t take it personally if someone is unable to help this time and don’t hold it against them. It’s OK for them to say no (unless they are your subordinates) and you want to leave the possibility for future collaboration open.

When we delegate, things don’t always go smoothly. That’s ok. Remember, the person you’ve chosen is a resource to be cultivated.

Take time to acknowledge that person’s contribution publicly when possible. Show your appreciation publicly and you may soon see more volunteers when new projects arise and your default team doesn’t have the bandwidth to complete them without support.