Delegation is an essential skill for effective leadership, allowing you to distribute tasks and responsibilities to team members and achieve your goals more efficiently. However, many people struggle with delegation, either because they don't want to relinquish control or because they don't know how to delegate effectively.
Whether you are a manager looking to delegate more effectively or an individual contributor seeking to improve your delegation skills, we asked entrepreneurs to share the delegation tips that help them become more efficient and effective leaders, and here are the responses:
#1- Hire a virtual assistant
One of my best delegation tips is to hire a virtual assistant. As a business owner, your time is valuable and limited. A virtual assistant can take on tasks like managing your email inbox, scheduling appointments, and handling social media, freeing up your time to focus on higher-level tasks that require your attention. Make sure to thoroughly vet potential candidates, clearly communicate your expectations and goals, and provide clear instructions and deadlines.
Thanks to Scott lard, IS&T!
#2- Delegate based on strengths
My best delegation tip for a small business is to delegate tasks based on your team member's strengths, interests, and development goals. When delegating tasks, it's essential to consider the strengths and interests of each team member to ensure that they are given tasks that they are experienced with and enjoy doing. Considering their career ambitions and interests will increase their motivation and job satisfaction and result in better business outcomes.
Thanks to Kevin Miller
#3- Define goals and the desired outcome
To successfully delegate tasks, the first step is to clearly define the goal and the desired outcome of the task. The more clarity you can provide your team about the desired results, the more successful they will be in completing the task. Once the goal and desired outcomes are understood, you should create a timeline for completion and communicate this timeline to your team. This provides deadlines for completion that allows everyone to stay on track and ensures expectations are met.
Thanks to Grant Sevek, One Nation Solar!
#4- Avoid micromanaging
My best delegation advice is to keep from micromanaging any one team member's workload. I believe leadership should feel confident assigning projects and tasks to appropriate team members. Then, step back to let them complete the work and work together. If there's a question, it's fine to address it but try not to take back control of the workload you just delegated to others. Instead, empower your team to do great work and let them check in with you to share updates.
Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation!
#5- Empower to use unique talents
My best delegation tactic as a small business owner has been to delegate tasks to employees based on their individual skills and abilities. I believe in empowering my staff to use their unique talents to help our business succeed. I also like to give my employees ownership of their tasks, allowing them to take the initiative and make decisions. I endeavor to provide clear expectations and direction to ensure everyone is on the same page. I also guarantee that I'm accessible to my staff when they need guidance.
Thanks to Ryan Lei, PadPCB!
#6- Offer support rather than micromanaging
There are many tips for delegating, but my number one tip is to offer support when delegating but don't micromanage. If you are going to trust someone else with an assignment, give them space to do it. Offer feedback sparingly but regularly while allowing them room enough to develop solutions on their own terms. Trusting in their ability to sink or swim independently means greater potential for new ideas during times of trouble.
Thanks to Bill Thode, Denver Family Lawyers!
#7- Provide resources to your delegate
My tip for delegation is to remember that assigning the work is only half the battle; you also need to provide adequate resources to your delegate to complete the task. Very few tasks are set and forget it in my experience and will require detailed explanations, workplace tools, and even some check-ins before they can be completed. If you merely assign a task without any expectation of providing resources, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and setting up your delegate to fail.
Thanks to Gates Little, altLINE Sobanco!
#8- Trust but verify
My mantra as a business owner is to trust, but verify. It can be so hard not to micromanage as a business owner- after all, you are leaving your baby in someone else's hands! But you find out pretty quickly that you can't scale a business by doing everything on your own. Trust but verification allows me to delegate tasks or problems to people I have hired because they are great at what they do. It allows me to let go of managing their process, and instead focus on the results of their work.
Thanks to Paul Kushner, My Bartender!
#9- Come up with the clear objective
I think just dumping work onto someone else's plate isn't delegating as many do. For example, when I hand off the projects to employees, I come up with a clear objective what are the desired outcome from their work. I mean having alignment on what does good look like, by what timeline, and the technique of measuring accomplishment. That's the best tip I have for delegation. So, before anyone starts working on a particular project, they should know what they need to complete and by when, including the metrics we'll use to measure the success of their work.
Thanks to Maria Harutyunyan, Loopex Digital!
#10- Practice handing out small jobs
Delegating can be difficult for first-time managers and leaders because you’re putting important work into someone else’s hands. You probably feel connected to your work and responsible for it getting done well. Learning to delegate is a critical skill, but you also shouldn’t be uncomfortable every time you delegate. So instead, practice handing off small types of work at first, before building up to bigger projects. Be patient—both with yourself and your team members.
Thanks to Nikola Baldikov, InBound Blogging!
#11- Use a two-way delegation app
Dedicating yourself to smaller tasks in order to succeed at a bigger one is easy. But keeping a loop of constant updates going is a tedious process. I intend to use the *two-way delegation app in this case. The application has the facility to analyze the original task, delegate the work, and assist in maintaining a follow-up. The application even acts as a self-explanatory book that helps you add tasks, create spreadsheets, and assist in the delegation. The step-by-step instructions* are beneficial to the user.
Thanks to Leona Bass, LoanAdvisor!
#12- Use automation systems like AI
My tip is to use AI to delegate business tasks that save time and increase efficiency. By automating repetitive or time-consuming tasks using AI, you can free up more time to focus on high-value tasks that require human input, such as strategy and decision-making. In addition, AI can often perform these tasks more accurately and consistently than humans, reducing the risk of errors and improving overall productivity. Delegate simple tasks to AI or VAs to free up resources.
Thanks to Micheal Green, Winona!
#13- Hire an automation specialist
My best delegation tip is to hire someone who is an automation expert. From automating email outreach to scheduling meetings, most day-to-day tasks can be automated nowadays. By hiring someone who specializes in automation, all of the upfront work associated with setting up automation can be delegated to someone who can get everything set up correctly. Then, once automated systems are set up, they largely run on autopilot, allowing you to sit back and enjoy.
Thanks to Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.!
#14- Communicate expectations
When I delegate a task, I always make sure to communicate these expectations as clearly as possible. I find that when expectations are clearly established upfront, it helps to prevent misunderstandings and ensure that the task is completed to the desired standard. This also helps to build trust between myself and the person I'm delegating to, as they understand exactly what is expected of them and have the necessary information to complete the task successfully.
Thanks to Rafal Mlodzki, Passport-Photo Online!
#15- Trust wholeheartedly
When delegating, whether by hiring an assistant or automating, you have to wholeheartedly trust in the person or thing you’re delegating to. You can’t hire someone to help and then waste time double-checking their work. You should be comfortable talking to them and using the communication channels if they’re a digital aid. If you spend more time worrying about the hows of delegation than doing your real job, it’s time to sit down and talk about it or use a new system.
Thanks to Victoria Yu, Making That Sale!
#16- Define the task and the right member
As a business owner, I believe that effective delegation is key to maximizing productivity and achieving success. One of my best delegation tips is to clearly define the tasks that need to be delegated and identify the right team member for the job. This ensures that each task is assigned to someone with the appropriate skills and experience to complete it efficiently and effectively. Another important tip is to provide clear instructions and set expectations for the outcome of the task.
Thanks to Rad Swierkowski, Tapping School!
#17- Focus on results
My best tip is to focus on results. When you delegate work, the goal isn’t to have the team member do the work exactly like you would have done it, the point is for them to achieve the desired results. As you delegate and coach team members through work, avoid spending too much time explaining how things should be done. Instead, focus on the end goal, and give the team members the space to come up with their own processes for doing the work. This gives them the opportunity to develop their own skills and also demonstrates that you trust them.
Thanks to Paige Arnof Fenn, Mavens & Moguls!
#18- Analyze the strengths and weaknesses
When delegating tasks to your employees, the key factor in analyzing is their strengths and weaknesses. Your employees do have goals they are already working towards, and your task must not be something out of their roles and responsibilities. Ensure that they are fully capable of completing the task without any hesitation and have a simplified workflow. By this, not only do you assure the quality of the delivery but also the mental health of your employees.
Thanks to Garth Watrous, American Hat Makers!
#19- Build strong relationships
I've found that when it comes to delegating, it's important to be able to trust that the person you're delegating to will do the work well and on time. The best way for me to delegate is by building strong relationships with the people on my team, so we can work together as a unit rather than being isolated from each other. I've found that this helps us all feel more invested in the project and helps us develop a sense of ownership over it so we can work hard to get it done right!
Thanks to Gauri Manglik, Instrumentl!
#20- Invest in training
Investing in training to help with delegation. It is something that I truly believe in when it comes to delegation. When you provide your team with proper training, you instill autonomy which makes it easier for them to take on work tasks and to also accept tasks that are delegated to them. Training also helps to instill confidence and provides employees with as much knowledge as possible to be able to take on extra responsibilities.
Thanks to Alex Holliman, Climbing Trees!
#21- Create SOPs
When it comes to delegation, I am a huge proponent of creating a process before I delegate. I find that it's important to have a good system in place in order to set your team up for success. One way I do this is by creating SOPs including a step-by-step guide on how to do the task, along with videos to explain how and WHY I do it this way. While it takes time upfront, it ends up freeing your time up in the long run. You now have the system, the tools, and the knowledge to give to others to allow them the freedom to do the task at hand.
Thanks to Kelsey Converse
#22- Identify the best person for the task
You can't just randomly pick people. They need to be knowledgeable about the task because their specific skills matter and play a big role in achieving success. If you need someone who's good at Mathematics but chose to assign someone good at history then you're doing it wrong, it won't work no matter how good he is in his field because he is not the correct person for the role. You need to make sure you will assign the best person or a person that fits perfectly for the task.
Thanks to Guy Hadas, Age Group!
#23- Delegate tasks not urgent or important
Hire extra people for certain unpredictable things. When you hire extra people (not more than three people), you can delegate tasks that are hard and important. Always delegate the tasks that are necessary but not urgent while you deal with the tasks that are urgent and important. Also, use those extras to handle any changes that are not according to the plan. But when you hire those extra people, make sure they are carefully chosen and assigned daily permanent tasks.
Thanks to Jordan Farrar, Akoca SEO!
#24- Hire a project manager and delegate
The best tip for delegating is to hire a project manager. I hired a project manager so I could delegate some of my tasks. He helped double-check things for me. He was the right hand for me as he streamlined processes. My project manager reviewed all the aspects in case I missed any important tasks. He monitored my budget and helped me plan ahead. He took major management tasks off my plate. Taking the project manager on board was a wise decision. He helped me in the transition toward the big picture.
Thanks to Jessica Shee, iBoysoft!
#25- Go by the 70% rule
Choosing who to assign work to is a crucial challenge in the delegation. You don't want to delegate to the wrong person and end up cleaning up the mess later on. I go by the 70% rule. If someone can do the job at least 70% as well as I can, they're the one. You can't ask a team member to be as perfect as you. No employee would be able to give you 100%. So it's ok to let go of perfectionism and accept your team member's work. And 70% is a pretty high benchmark itself.
Thanks to Marcus Arcabascio, Pub Record!
#26- Offer training, resources, and authority
It is your responsibility as a manager to offer all three if the individual you are delegating work to needs certain training, resources, or authority to execute the job. Giving someone a difficult assignment to do will annoy both of you because your colleague won't be able to accomplish the intended result, and you'll probably need to put that work back on your to-do list. Concentrate on the task's importance, the desired outcome, and any gaps between them and their current skill set.
Thanks to Anton Radchenko, AirAdvisor!
#27- Focus on offering consistent and repeatable tasks
My best delegation tips are to focus on offering consistent and repeatable tasks. This could include hiring a virtual assistant (VA) or automating systems that can be used for repetitive actions. I recommend setting clear guidelines and expectations upfront to ensure the VA is productive and successful. It’s important to find someone who will fit with your team and has the right skill set for the job. Finally, I advise creating clear processes which will enable you to give feedback and monitor progress easily.
Thanks to James Oliver, Hey Mattress!
#28- Use timeboxing method
A good way to manage delegation is first to ask people how much time they need to spend on their existing tasks over a certain period. If you follow an agile or scum type of workflow already, you probably use the timeboxing method for this about every two weeks. With this method, your team puts forward the amount of time they have available for each of the tasks. This way, you can see who genuinely has extra time and you can delegate or reassign overflow work accordingly.
Thanks to Nirav Sheth, Anatta!
#29- Use project/task management tool
I’ve found that a project/task management program has been my best tool for easy and efficient delegation. Outlining project objectives, tasks, milestones and timelines makes it a breeze to track completed and outstanding items. I use Teamwork, which notifies team members when a new task has been assigned to them, along with the due date and instructions for completion. As my team members are remote, the system also allows for time tracking, making it simple to monitor and keep an eye on my budget.
Thanks to Pam Ivey, Pam Ivey International!
#30- Establish open communication
I discovered the significance of efficient delegation to overcome the workload. When delegating, it's vital to concentrate on every person's expertise and distribute tasks matching their skillset. In addition, establishing open communication with the team and fostering a healthy working relationship enhances productivity. I also advise creating a detailed plan with distinct instructions and deadlines to ensure transparency and accountability.
Thanks to Chris Looney, SporesMD!