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Being an effective delegator is critical, as it can empower and develop our employees, build trust within our teams, and reduce our workload. If you’re like most of our clients recently, you are struggling with a heavy workload and not enough time in the day. 

Check out this Harvard Business Review article by Amy Gallo that asks, “Why Aren’t You Delegating?” and see which delegation skills you can improve on. Also visit out our LinkedIn poll, and vote for which option is getting in your way. Once we understand our obstacles, we are able to develop strategies to overcome them.

There are 5 skills vital to being an effective delegator:

  • Communication: Share the what and the why, and offer employees a chance to ask questions and clarify expectations.
  • Time Management: Communicate the timeline for the task and, if it’s a complex task, support them in creating an action plan.
  • Training: Ensure employees have the knowledge and ability to complete the task, or allow time to develop it.
  • Feedback: Encourage development and growth by offering constructive feedback that is specific, timely, acknowledges successes, and supports them in doing better next time.
  • Trust: Offer autonomy and support, share all information they need to be successful, and give them space to decide how it gets done.

Reflect on which of these five skills are strengths and consider which delegation skill will help you improve your ability to delegate. With that self-awareness, here are some good tips from the Indeed Editorial Team’s article “How To Improve Your Delegation Skills in 7 Steps,” to develop your (or your managers’) delegation effectiveness:

  1. Get used to the idea of delegating tasks, reflect on individuals’ strengths and what they do well, and assign simpler tasks at first to practice letting go.
  2. Establish criteria for assessing a task’s importance and difficulty, and use those criteria to assign it according to your employees’ experience, specialties, and skill.
  3. Delegate according to your team members’ strengths to enable the whole team’s ability to deliver a quality project on time.
  4. Share specific instructions for the task prior to delegating; doing so will save time in edits and rewrites later.
  5. Teach your employees new skills to allow you to delegate those tasks that historically have been faster and easier to do yourself, with the end goal of saving more time in the long term.
  6. Balance checking their work with offering trust and autonomy to the degree that works
  7. Learn to offer effective feedback to help them learn what they are doing well and should continue, as well as recognize what isn’t working and develop alternatives the next time.

Knowing that delegation is a critical skill for leaders today is one thing, but being able to break it down into a few immediately actionable steps is quite different. Our hope is that there is one practical tip that has caught your attention so that you can see improvements to your delegation effectiveness.