How to be a better delegator

Delegating effectively is often a big challenge for new managers. Learning to move from a sole deliverer to a leader is one of the biggest steps you have to take and it isn’t always straight forward.

It can be uncomfortable telling people what to do and frustrating when it feels like you could do the task better by yourself. So here are four great tips that will help you on the way to being a master delegator:

Keep a delegation log

Keeping track of all the different activities that are underway. Remembering who is doing what and by when can be overwhelming. A simple delegation log that has three columns headed: task, delegated to, and deadline will help you keep track of everything and stop work falling through the cracks.

Understand your team

How you brief your team on a task and how much support you give will depend on how experienced the individual is. The situational leadership model developed by Ken Blanchard and Dr Paul Hersey is a useful tool for helping us know what level of support we need to give our team members in delivering the tasks we have asked them to. Before you delegate, consider which of the following four groups the individual fits in and adapt your approach to suit:

  • Directing – when an employee starts in a role, as a leader you will need to provide them with a high level of direction on what they need to do and how they need to do it.
  • Coaching – after the initial enthusiasm of the new role wears off, employees can become disillusioned. It can feel that there is so much to learn and doubt at one’s ability can set in. Your role as leader here is to increase support but build confidence through a coaching style.
  • Supporting – as confidence builds you can begin to be less directive whilst maintaining a degree of support.
  • Delegating – finally you’ll need to move to fully delegating tasks. Trusting the employee to deliver with limited support or direction.

Know you delegate for a reason

There are some tasks that only you as the leader and manager can do. These are the ones you need to focus on. One of the challenges of delegating is knowing that you can complete a task quicker and to the standard you require, but you still delegate it anyway. Only by properly delegating tasks will you have the time to dedicate yourself to the work that you need to.

Give good feedback

And finally, don’t forget to give good feedback. Check out the post here for how to give good feedback (hint: it’s not the ‘shit sandwich’).