One of the most vital skills leaders need to master for long-term success is effective delegation. Delegation isn’t just important to help leaders manage time and workload, however; it can also be a valuable tool to help develop team members.
Giving your team members more opportunities to develop skills is one of the most practical and cost-effective ways to develop your people. Studies repeatedly show that employees want more development opportunities at work. Allowing your team members to share your workload through delegated tasks can help identify high potential, create a stronger sense of purpose, and improve productivity.
Here are four steps to effective delegation that will help develop your employees and improve team productivity:
1. Determine the What
The first step in effective delegation is deciding what to delegate. This may be more difficult than it sounds! Make a list of the significant tasks, responsibilities, and activities you have and assess whether other people can perform them. Which ones provide opportunities for other people to step into new roles?
2. Identify Who
Once you’ve identified tasks that you can delegate, look at team members and evaluate who can take on those new tasks. Consider each team member’s strengths and experience, and assess whether those team members have time and ability to take on new responsibilities. Ask them what areas they would like to pursue and what tasks and activities would help them in their career development and management?
3. Communicate the Assignment
Delegating a task to someone else will not work unless you take the time to define the task and establish desired outcomes and results. Focus on the “what” and the “why,” and give plenty of opportunities for the team member to ask questions or raise concerns about the task. Agree on the timeline, checkpoints, and desired results. Most importantly, once you have set the parameters, give team members the ball and let them go. Leave the “how” to them, and allow them to shine.
4. Be Available for Support and Feedback
As you meet with team members for agreed-upon check-ins and follow-ups, be sure they know that you support their efforts. Be prepared to help with additional resources, if applicable. Tailor the follow-up to the individual, and encourage learning throughout the process.
Delegating demonstrates trust in your people. It shows team members that you believe they and you can do more. By giving your team opportunities to grow and hone their skills, you’ll encourage development and improvement even as you free yourself to focus on tasks that only you can do.