The Smart Way of Effectively Delegating Tasks

Blog The Orange Box
By: Delia T.

If you're like most founders, CEOs, or managers out there, you are pretty busy. For someone with no more room in their schedule, identifying the tasks that are generating profits and the ones that are more on the mundane side, is essential. This way, you can effectively delegate to people in your team or to third-parties.


delegating tasks - Outsourcing


You know, delegation is a lot more than just a simple management buzzword - it's one of the most important things that you can do individually in order to become successful. Delegation has a two-fold purpose: the first one is to get rid of all the humdrum tasks and the second one to allow you to train and teach some of the people that report to you how to do what you do. Think about it: by delegating, you're essentially duplicating your effort and that will allow you to better manage your clients' projects.

However, to do delegation correctly, you got to follow several important steps.

1. Figure out the actual tasks that should be delegated - This is the first thing to start with, the fundamental step.

2. Look at the degree of urgency - pretty straight forward - analyze the urgency of each task you want to delegate.

3. Contrast the degree of urgency with the degree of importance - A task you're delegating to somebody you've just started working with should be of low to moderate urgency, so you don't rush that person through it. At the same time, it ought to be from medium to high importance; it should be something they take extremely seriously.

4. Determine the outcomes that you're looking for - Remember that you have to be all about the ultimate end-product, not the process to get there.

5. Pick the people to delegate two - you have two choices here.

First, there's someone with the right skills, who you know that's going to do an awesome job. The challenges with that include the possible interpretation of playing favorites and the fact that these people are, most probably, pretty busy themselves. Thus, the individual with the most skills, or your go-to person is definitely an option, but may not be the best.

The second option might be somebody for whom that task could be developmental. Here, understanding what people are interested in outside of work or in terms of career plans can be really beneficial, because you might be able to position a particular task as something that will help them get promoted or improve an aspect of their personal life. Hence, your choice is to determine how getting this task done will help the person you delegate. From there, you'll identify the type of training hey need, and finally, it's time to delegate.

6. Assign that task - also, figure out what the follow-ups are going to look like, how often you're going to check with them, and so on. 

7. Mention the purpose - when you first come in to delegate an idea or a task to someone, mention its purpose.

8. Don't forget to specifically chunk down on the actions that are required - Now, depending on the level of autonomy that you want to give this person, you can be as specific and descriptive as you like. Nonetheless, you should start by making the purpose clear and then explain the actions.

9. Set a deadline - here, you can say it as a question (could you get this back to me by Monday at 6 PM?), or like a statement (I need this back by 6 PM). We recommend a question because it enables the assignee to make a decision and say: yes, I can get that back to you. Plus, making a decision gives them more autonomy and ownership.

Remember that if you can position a task into something that's interesting even outside of work, you may find you have some hidden talent.

If you, on the other hand, don't delegate things, and you try to take it all on yourself, not only will you not grow, but you will also regress in the level that you're at right now. You can't possibly even keep the equilibrium up unless you're learning new tasks to stay up with it.

Therefore, one of the most important principles for being highly productive in the workplace is being able to delegate effectively. The steps and advice above will help you to free up your time so that you're in control and no longer struggling.

Moreover, it will give the people you delegate to a sense of clarity and a sense of direction in terms of what they're required to do.

Tags: project management, business process outsourcing