An essential quality of a great leader is the ability to delegate successfully. It’s sometimes difficult to know where to start, and with whom to start. Poor delegation of tasks and project management can ultimately lead to frustration and hinder progress. On the flip side, good delegation skills can lead to an increase in knowledge, efficiencies and productivity.
When delegating, select members of your team with whom you trust to have the right skill set and drive to get the job done. Encourage these individuals to keep you in the loop along the way with updates and findings. As a business owner, you not only want to have the project completed, but you’ll need to understand how the goal was accomplished in order to scale the process. Keep track of the people, tasks assigned and roles within the project.
Find a way to collaborate as a group, whether that’s through email or another project management product. This ensures you’ll stay informed on all correspondence from your team.
Set a timeline for the tasks and outline the expectations for your team and yourself—leadership and time management improves when there are clear guidelines. Schedule a time daily or weekly where you can all come together to discuss updates or information related to the project, and listen to your team’s suggestions. You’ve chosen this group because you trust them, and sometimes they can offer ideas to improve the outcome of the project.
When you are approaching a project, follow these stages for effective delegation:
1. Define the Task
This can (and should) be done by you, the team leader. If the task is for a client, look at every detail provided by them as to what is expected: deadlines, goals, strategies, etc. If it’s an internal job, create a detailed outline based on the expectations of your stakeholders to present to your team.
2. Choose Your Team or Individual
Look at your employees objectively. Who is a great leader? Who reports well? Who is ready to take on additional responsibility? Who keeps the energy up and drives the team to succeed? These are all great traits that you’ll want to harness during your project.
3. Analyze abilities, pin-point training needs and assign roles
You have a great team lined up, and each member comes with his or her own strengths (and weaknesses). Recognize what needs to be improved and provide the appropriate training and/or mentorship from another employee (or you) when needed to position your team for success. Based on skill set and/or career development, assign clear roles for the project: Project Manager, IT, Reporting Analyst, etc.
4. Outline Tasks and Expectations
Make a list of your project goals as well as the tasks required to complete the project. Review these expectations with your team to ensure they have all the information needed to successfully meet your expectations. Then, assign each task to the appropriate team member and include deadlines and budget for each step along the way.
5. Collaborate to Discover Resources and Answer Questions
What type of research is required for the project? Is more equipment needed? Will additional people need to get involved? Work with your team to make a list of requirements and questions to ensure your team has what they need to get started. Delegate one or two people to help gather and manage those resources.
6. Provide Ongoing Support For Your Team
Delegation doesn’t mean you walk away from a project completely—your team is still looking to you for support and guidance. Instead, make yourself available to the group to answer questions or help move steps along that need more authority. If needed, set a daily or weekly meeting with your team and/or the team leader to check-in regularly on progress. A successful team is a supported team.
7. Receive and Offer Feedback
Both during and after the completion of a project, look to your team for feedback. Review what went well, and what didn’t—and look at the quantitative evidence of what worked by analyzing reports and sales. Offer feedback to your team, too. Did they feel they had everything they needed to accomplish their goals? Did they have any struggles? What did they find to be successful? Learn from their answers so you can delegate more effectively in the future.