Learn to Delegate: You Know You Want to..26 Aug 2015

Starting at team leading or project management level, the amount of work that needs handling requires taking some serious steps. One way could be getting an assistant, another can be delegating some tasks to the team. The higher your level of influence within an organization, the more likely you are to have to pass on part of your tasks. Having problems getting the process started?
This is particularly tricky for those who pay a lot of attention to details, who have to always stay in control, or are unable to trust anyone beside themselves.

Learn to delegate you know you want to

The letting go part

The absolute key to making delegation work is in talking goals not methods. Do not advise or suggest a good way of getting a job done, just get a message of what it is that you want across. Write down the key points - goals that you wish for the delegate to achieve, and when receiving the work back, check against these and try staying objective. If the goals have been met, stay off getting into how was this done exactly, as this becomes irrelevant.

People skills

An obvious, albeit important aspect of successful work delegation is practicing and perfecting one's people soft skills. The sooner you get started, the more prepared to delegate you will be next time round. Remember to thank the team members for accepting the responsibility you've given them, and do give credit for the work when the time comes to do so.

Anticipating failure

It is recommended that the approach you take here is a teaching one. When passing duties on less experienced team members, you need to take this very inexperience into account. Obviously, the tasks will take longer to be completed and there most likely will be place for mistakes and misunderstandings, and it is your role to be prepared for this and to handle it well.
The overall result will be in the team growth and people's development and, hopefully, self-realization.


As easy as it may sound, an important part of any kind of issues with delegating work is keeping good communication going. People are people, and without enough communication lines open between them, even the easiest of tasks can be problematic. A valid factor in making delegation work is setting clear boundaries regarding how much assistance (if any) you are ready to deliver. Discussing what is going on is not the same as telling people how to do what they need to.

Who to delegate to?

When trying to decide who will be the best fit for a job, take into consideration the available candidates' experience, current workload, and the style of their work - decide if this matches the nature of the work you want them to do. It's also good to have basic awareness of a person's independence levels.
A great way to make matching of the tasks to the best person is actually involving the team in the process, asking them to pick their tasks - not unlike when doing Kanban. This may give good indication of who is best suited for which types of work. Can also make more than less of the team members happy with their tasks.

What's best not to delegate

Even though some tasks may seem small and light, there are those that despite their lightweight nature should be handled by yourself, if their impact will pose onto the organization's (and possibly yours) long-term success. It's a valuable skill - knowing which of the tasks fall into this category. With enough experience, you will know.

Final thoughts

If the previous had not been enough yet, here is final piece of advice: try saying goodbye to any perfectionism you may be breeding. This will make delegating an awful lot easier ;)

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