Delegating Effectively

Posted on January 20, 2010


The art of delegation does not always come naturally to all leaders or managers. While some leaders may effectively assign and allocate sub tasks to his team members, others experience difficulty in grappling with the subtleties of the skill, such as maintaining control over the process, or avoiding the crossing of the line between delegating and “arrowing”. Regardless, we all know that effective delegation is a critical skill in becoming a successful leader, for this skill allows us to effectively manage the team to achieve outcome that we alone can never hope to accomplish.

It is apparent why delegating tasks is important. As a leader or manager of a team, it is of essence that we learn to properly assign sub tasks to our team members to ensure that a project is completed in the most efficient way possible. By considering carefully the nature of the task we assign and the skill sets of each member, we are able to capitalise on the strengths of the various members of the team to suit the task that we tackle, hence resulting in the best possible outcome achieved. We may also choose to assign team members with sub tasks that they are foreign in or are not as strong at so as to be able to provide then with the necessary experience and resources to handle similar problems in the future, hence adding value to their development.

In delegating tasks to our team members, there are a few crucial factors to consider. Primarily, we need to remember that while the respective tasks are to be handled by our various team members, the overall command and control of the project, its standard and speed are still to be determined by us. As such, we abandon the role of physically completing the project ourselves for the role of coordination and regulation with the intention of producing the highest possible standards in the most efficient way.

It is also pertinent that we clarify expectations with our team members. It pays to always keep in mind that in our communication of expectations to our team members, the information undergoes the processes of deletion, distortion and generalization both as we convey the instructions and as our team processes the information. As such, room for ambiguity and disparity is created. Knowing this does not allow us to avoid the situation, but it allows us to take counteractive measures. Using objective language and specifics as opposed to generalised instructions and subjective language will help to reduce error in translation. Maintaining the habit of having our team read back our instructions will also ensure that we are always on the same page.

Set deadlines. It is imperative that for a medium to large scale project handled by various bodies, clear deadlines must be set and adhered to. Failure to set reasonable deadlines and keep to them will result in many aspects of a task awaiting the completion of its other aspects, resulting in much inefficiency. This could possibly result in the task to be completed later than desired. Achieving clarity in deadlines and commitment to it will ensure a smooth delivery of the project. By factoring in these guides, we would easily be able to efficiently delegate tasks to our team members and expect prompt and quality work which is well coordinated and congruent with our desired outcome.

See Also:

Delegation Gone Wrong