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Small Business Tips

What's the Best Way to Delegate Tasks to Employees

Justine Rabideau
leader delegating tasks to employees seated at conference table

Even experienced managers sometimes find themselves overwhelmed with the amount of work sprawled in front of them. Thankfully, they’ve got a great team of employees to help them out. Just like business financial planning, knowing how to delegate tasks effectively is all about strategizing.

Gain insight into how to ensure the right task is assigned to the right employee by keeping in my the following suggestions.

Provide context

The only way to reach a specific destination is to have a plan for getting there. The same is true of delegating work to team members. Let them know why the work needs to be done as well as the significance each task holds.If problems or complications are in the forecast, employees should get a warning. That way, they can start working on ways to address those hardships rather than fumble their way through them. Finally, let team members know who and where to go to for guidance and answers.

Give employees a timeline

While a task or project may be crucial, it could also come with a generous timeline. No matter how much or how little time a team has to get work done, they need to be informed. Managers should provide a date, or several dates, for when tasks should be completed. Additionally, it helps to know what specific results are expected.

Know employee strengths

An employee with weak wrists and poor upper body strength has no business lifting heavy boxes. An essential aspect of delegation is knowing what employees are capable of. When managers know and play to individual employee strengths, they set their team up for success.

Frustration and feelings of failure are bound to crop up when employees aren’t working on projects that suit their skill sets. That said, managers should still give team members a challenge to fully engage their minds and abilities.

Follow up

While micromanaging is most certainly a managerial no-no, following up with employees is a must. If a project or task is especially demanding and time-consuming, it’s best to follow up to ensure things are on track. Imagine having to tell someone she or he needs to start back at step three when that person has just finished step 10.

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Establish a metric of success

Where is the finish line? What does a victory look like? Even if a task has been finished, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s been successfully completed. Managers need to establish a standard that lets everyone know when no more tweaking or polishing needs to be done.

Another reason to set a standard of success is so employees can plan their steps accordingly. For instance, it’s not enough to tell a person she or he is going on a trip. That individual needs to know what kind of weather to expect so he or she knows what to pack.

Give employees agency

For employees, few things are as frustrating as feeling like they’re being micromanaged or blocked from doing their jobs. Managers should not only give their team authority but the knowledge that their team has that authority in the first place.

Employees can easily and unnecessarily second-guess themselves when they don’t know what is and is not permitted on a project. Providing team members with agency shows a measure of trust and allow them to grow into their own.

Practice patience

Even though managers may be experienced, the teams and employees they oversee are generally not. For that reason, managers need to cultivate a measure of patience and understanding. All problems and setbacks encountered should be mined for learning and improvement opportunities.Scolding employees or making them feel inadequate, even accidentally, serves no one. Determining the difference between problems and opportunities is all about perception.

Manners matter

Throughout a task or project, managers should be sure to mind their manners, no matter how hectic things may become. A simple “thank you” or gesture of appreciation is bound to go a long way with employees. Furthermore, employees are often eager to work with managers who respect them and acknowledge their hard work.

Ask and offer feedback at the end

Once a task or project is finally complete, managers shouldn’t stop there. It’s a good idea to touch base with employees to see how they feel about everything. Specifically, managers should ask employees:

  • What was their favourite aspect of the task?
  • What was their least favourite aspect of the task?
  • How comfortable did they feel during the project?
  • Are there any improvements that could have been made?
  • Do they feel they learned anything?

Feedback goes a long way in preparing for the next inevitable task that will need to be delegated.The importance of team delegation cannot be denied or diminished. These tips and knowledge of employee strengths are great ways to see victory at the end of the day.

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