5 ways for managers to get good at delegating to their team

This week’s question is all about delegating:

‘I’m a manager with a team and I know I should be delegating more, but I’m not all that sure how to do that. Any tips would be useful.’

If you’re a manager and have ever said the sentence ‘It’s just quicker if I do it myself’ then you are definitely not alone.

Delegating can feel really long winded and that all it really does is slow you right down, but the thing is that if you keep doing a task yourself, you’ll always be doing the task yourself – so although it might be much quicker in the short term, in the long term it’s not going to do you any favours.

Being able to delegate is also a really important skill for any manager, as it enables you to focus on the work you need to be doing especially when there’s limited time in the day.

So, if you’re wondering how to go about it, here are 5 tips to help you out.

  1. Go through your list and see what tasks you don’t need to be doing

A lot of the time it’s easy to fall into the trap of doing everything on your to do list, because you’ve always done it, or you might even like doing it. However, it might not actually be a great use of your time and focus.

So, spend a few minutes going through your list and seeing what recurring tasks you don’t actually need to be doing, and could easily be done by a member of your team.

You might find that you get thoughts of:

‘But it only takes me a few minutes’

‘I know the system so it’s quicker for me’

‘By the time I’ve shown someone I could have had it done’

All of these are valid points, but remember that although this is probably true, it’s also good for someone else to know what you know (just in case that proverbial bus comes along!)

2. Spend some time going through the task with someone

This is where delegating often falls down.

This step isn’t a case of just giving the task to someone else, but teaching them to do the task effectively. Yes, this is going to take time, and yes it might feel frustrating at times, but is actually time well spent. The key thing to remember here is that everyone learns at different paces. You might have been doing the task for a long time, so know it inside out, however it might take someone else a bit of time to catch on. Just because you’ve shown them once doesn’t mean that they should know everything. Be patient.

3. Be there to support them, and check in

Once you’ve gone through the task in detail, arrange some times for them to check in with you, so you can support them if they need it, and make sure they know that they can come and see you if they get stuck or have some more questions, so they’re not waiting until the arranged time.

4. Don’t watch over them

It might be really tempting, but do your best not to watch over them and see if they’re doing it right, or doing it in the same way as you do. Being given a task and then micro-managed can feel really uncomfortable so give them a bit of space to get on with what they’re supposed to be doing.

5. Treat it as a development opportunity for someone else

Delegating a task to someone might feel like you’re passing on work, but a good way to re-frame this is to think of it as developing members of your team. Learning new skills and being given new opportunities is a fantastic way to grow and stretch your legs – so have a go at thinking of it like that.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on delegation tips, let me know by leaving a comment.



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