Effective Delegation Tips for Managers

The best way to get it all done is to let someone else do some of it. Here’s how.

Effective Delegation Tips for Managers

Effective delegation is a skill you must master.

It's an undisputed fact: All managers must know how to delegate work to employees. Otherwise, you'll discover that you're the one doing everything—and that's a lose-lose situation. Effective delegation is a skill you must master if you aim to do your job well and keep your sanity intact.

When you (the boss) are the only person on the team who knows how to execute a job from start to finish, you risk being an unnecessary bottleneck. If you're unavailable, the work stops. Not only that, but your credibility as a leader goes down the tubes. You need to relinquish some of those duties and empower your team to take on different responsibilities. Not only will this help your business's productivity, it'll also reduce your stress.

Try these strategies for passing the buck—in a good way.

Effective Delegation for Bosses

1. Learn to Let Go

Often the biggest roadblock to effective delegation is a manager's inability to let someone else do something they think they could do themselves.

Delegating tasks can help your team work more efficiently and create opportunities for them to develop and stretch their skills while gaining more visibility in the company. Effective delegation can encourage and challenge your top performers.

That said, make sure you're not passing things on because you simply don't want to do them yourself. Your employees should understand how doing a task benefits them, otherwise they might think you're just dumping stuff on them. Be thoughtful about what you hand down the chain.

2. Be Clear

When figuring out how to delegate, take time to find out what it is you're asking your employees to do. A lot of times, managers hesitate to delegate because they're confused about what really needs to be done, or they haven't thought out the job well enough.

Be comprehensive in your communication of what's being delegated, and make sure that person understands your expectations and deadlines.

Effective delegation is a way to empower your team, so they should also understand why they're doing it. You want to motivate the person and appeal to their expertise. They should feel like they've got the skills and tools they need to do this task, and that they're doing it for a purpose.

3. Think Ahead

One of the fears in delegating tasks is that someone else won't be able to negotiate all the twists and turns that the task may take. If this is the case, you can consider yourself a bit of a control freak.

Now is the time to think about all the potential bumps that could derail the task you're assigning and prepare your worker to handle them—or have them come to you if they run into problems and you can work on it together.

4. Make Sure Workers Can Handle the Job

A quick way to create anxiety is to give a task to someone who doesn't have the resources to complete it. Equip your team with all the tools and information they're going to need to complete the task you're giving them. If they need to reference a report, make sure they can access it. Furthermore, choose someone who has the necessary skillset.

Really think about how you can pass along some skills and opportunities that will help your team grow and develop while also helping you recognize the right person for the job. You can do this through coaching and one-on-one meetings to get a better understanding of the strengths of your team members.

They also must have the authority to fully manage the job. If completing the assignment requires them to ask someone to perform for them, be sure that you've given them the power to do that.

5. Ask Questions

You're the boss, and employees may be too intimidated to ask for clarity if they don't understand something. Give them an opening by asking:

  • Do you see any problems with this?
  • Do you have any questions?
  • Is anything not clear?

It's also crucial to ask if they have the bandwidth. This is important because many employees are prone to always saying yes in order to keep you happy. When you ask, "Do you have the bandwidth to take this on right now?" you're forcing the person to stop and think before giving you their answer.

Similarly, it's essential to rotate assignments. Find out what the strengths are of the people around you, and balance opportunities for visibility where individuals can contribute.

Take the Next Steps

Learning effective delegation tactics is good for both you and your co-workers. As a manager, you've put together a strong team and passed along your knowledge and skills. You trust them to get the job done well. What comes next? Often, the best option is to leave the job in your team's hands and find new opportunities. Ready for your next move? Put up a profile on Monster for free and you can get connected with recruiters in your industry, plus career advice and job search tips. Delegate some of your career planning to Monster.