The Subtle Art of Delegation: You Won’t Be a Great Manager Until You Learn These Critical Skills

The Subtle Art of Delegation: You Won’t Be a Great Manager Until You Learn These Critical Skills

Angela M

Angela M.

5 minutes

Feb 11, 2022

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The Subtle Art of Delegation: You Won’t Be a Great Manager Until You Learn These Critical Skills

There isn't a single person who hasn't faced a situation that required delegating tasks to others – whether in personal or professional surroundings.

Whether you're asking your spouse to take out the trash or assigning tasks to team members on a big project, the principles of the delegation are pretty much the same.

Delegation is a critical skill

Although it is often difficult to do - as delegation requires giving up some control - it is a critical skill for keeping your sanity and avoiding burnout.

It's undoubtedly one of the essential management skills, as it requires time and personnel management and the ability to trust team members and subordinates.

Why do you find it hard to delegate?

At some point, every manager realizes, "I can't do everything myself."

However, delegating important tasks requires some time… And quite a bit of learning.

If you find yourself constantly overworked, stressed out, and facing a severe time crunch with project finalization, we have bad news – it's probably your fault. Delegating essential tasks can be challenging because it requires you to trust others professionally, without the constant urge to micromanage their every step.

Regular check-ups and guidance are necessary, but the constant need to control every detail prevents you from adequately delegating tasks and managing more complex projects with multiple team members.

Keyboard

A skill that you can learn

The good news is that delegation is a skill that you can learn. If you are in a management or leadership role, at some point, you depend on others to perform their tasks correctly and on time.

Think of it this way: if you never give them the freedom to show their abilities, you'll never discover what they are capable of, and consequently, you'll never be able to delegate appropriately.

Here's an example: you took on a big project for an important client and want to ensure everything runs smoothly and is done on time. As a result, you feel compelled to be involved in every single step to ensure there are no bottlenecks. However, you soon discover this management style is unsustainable.

Make sure you know your employees

The only reasonable thing to do is to trust your employees and team members to perform their jobs, though with some preconditions:

  • Proper allocation of human resources within the team

  • Instructions for each team and team member

  • Setting clear expectations

Great managers must know their employees' strengths, abilities, knowledge, and professional experience to delegate tasks accordingly. Delegation of duties and responsibilities doesn't exclude the manager or leader from the project; it only allows them to use their time more efficiently.

Proper follow-up, regular meetings, and support are still part of the managers' job, but the technical executions of every task within the project aren't.

How to become a good delegator?

Delegation is a skill. Suppose you feel like you are drowning in your everyday tasks and responsibilities. In that case, it's about time you realize the importance of delegation and start working on perfecting your ability to assign tasks to others.

To delegate is much more than just transferring tasks to another person – you ask your team member to perform the job, but the responsibility for the delivery and results is still yours. That's why proper guidance and staff management are crucial – delegation requires various skills, behaviors, and knowledge, and it is one of the most sought-after leadership competencies.

That said, the most challenging part about delegating is accepting the lack of control you have over every aspect of every task. If you don't trust your team members, it doesn't mean you should do their job yourself. Instead, you should learn to delegate better.

Insisting on micro-managing every single task is one of the biggest mistakes in management. It leads to unproductive and unmotivated staff members who come to believe you don't trust them and believe in their work.

Burden

Start delegating efficiently

Here are eight tips on what you can do to become a better delegator:

  • Delegators must accept other people's ideas, trust them with the assigned tasks, be aware of possible mistakes, and take on risks.

  • It is crucial to determine what you can and should delegate and what you can't and shouldn't delegate.

  • The person delegating should be on top of the entire process – the employee to whom you should assign the task and give them the freedom to perform it. Still, the manager who delegated the task should regularly check their progress.

  • Providing helpful instructions and setting clear expectations on task execution is crucial.

  • Realize that you are delegating the responsibilities along with the tasks. Trust your employees and give them the authority to do their job correctly.

  • Constructive feedback is necessary when delegating because it's the only way the person assigned to the task can learn what to improve.

  • You should see delegating as a way to learn new skills so that you can improve over time.

  • Always make sure that the person you're delegating to understands the task given to them. Ask them to repeat their assignment to ensure there are no misunderstandings.

Golden rules of delegating

To conclude, delegation is a set of skills you can learn, but not overnight. If you want to do it right, take your time, set clear expectations, and allow your team (and yourself) to learn from mistakes. If you're going to take anything from this article, remember these golden rules of delegating:

  • Delegate gradually

  • Delegate as much as your mindset and expectations allow you

  • Do it when you are ready

In the end, a great delegator trusts the team, gives them the freedom to innovate, and encourages each team member's creativity.