Task delegation is an essential skill that is often challenging to practice. Most everyday processes boil down to habits and muscle memory, which take time to develop. In many cases, managers shy away from delegating work because it requires closer attention to feedback cycles and the effort to explain tasks to others. However, refusing to delegate can negatively impact your bottom line more than you’d anticipate. Still, some steps come before task delegation, such as fully mastering your processes, to begin with. In this article, you’ll learn why understanding your unique business processes is the key to flawless delegation.
Spotting Key Activity Areas
Direct your project management processes by looking at the bigger picture. After all, tasks are only smaller pieces of a larger, more complex puzzle. As such, taking a departmental approach can make it easier to identify tasks according to appropriate skill sets.
When you categorise tasks according to each department, employees will have a deeper understanding of how to attain the desired results.
Then, put things into even more perspective by identifying a specific department’s impact on a company level. For instance, an ironclad sales pitch can:
- Save time answering unnecessary questions
- Push potential customers deeper into the sales funnel
- Increase revenues
Identifying how a department’s tasks can reflect on your business as a whole will get them excited to commit.
Matching People to Tasks
Once you’ve identified key activities for delegation, it’s time to decide what tasks to assign to which employees.
When you assign tasks to employees, you’ll want to consider the following factors.
- Skill level: Naturally, high-priority tasks should go to employees with more experience. However, occasionally delegating challenging tasks to rookies can help them master new skills and become just as dependable.
- Availability: One mistake that managers often make is overloading highly-skilled employees. While they might be the best fit for the job, placing unnecessary strain on employees can decrease productivity and drive poor results. When deadlines are approaching, delegate tasks to employees with less work on their plates.
- Preference: Occasionally, employees will have to face tasks they don’t enjoy. However, playing to an employee’s preferences can boost productivity and morale. Still, you’ll want to practice this cautiously, as keeping employees boxed within their comfort zones can stunt growth.
One way to manage capacity is to use timesheets. Timesheets provide optimal transparency and can indicate whether an employee is vacant or busy.
In addition, you can discern how long an employee takes to complete a specific task—this information can direct time estimates and also identify weak points.
Instead of assigning deadlines, ask your employees how long they think it will take to complete a task. After all, they have the best gauge for the skills required, overall difficulty, and standards.
Cover All Ground
The key to task delegation, is to leave no room for misinterpretation. Provide the appropriate context for each task and how it ties into your business goals. Align on what success should look like—is it a specific number of closed deals? To get costs under control?
From there, make your expectations as clear as possible. For instance, if the task is to complete a sales pitch draft, specify:
- How long the expected draft should be
- How many variations the draft should have
- What product he draft is advertising
By providing specific details like the ones listed above, employees can determine how much time and effort will be required to fulfil the task.
Empower New Managers
There may come a time when preserving your role as a manager is no longer sustainable. When you allocate tasks, you maintain ultimate responsibility without giving employees much authority.
However, delegating tasks will allow you to pass on some responsibility and focus on bigger-picture tasks. Plus, delegation can help others move up within their career trajectories and learn to become more accountable for their work.
When handing off responsibility to a new manager, keep the following tips in mind.
- Assign objectives, not tasks: When you delegate a task, it’s up to employees to determine the best way to achieve it. Communicate what you want the result to be and leave it up to new managers to determine effective strategies.
- Encourage feedback: No two managers will approach a task similarly. Be open to suggestions and encourage proactive involvement. Talk about any foreseeable risks and what you can do to equip your teams better.
- Offer support without getting too involved: New managers commonly seek approval, but you don’t want to risk micromanaging them. You can mitigate this risk by choosing when to expend time and energy. Projects won’t always run smoothly, but you shouldn’t have to snub your priorities if you delegate tasks to reliable people.
- Delegate objectives that encourage career growth: Keeping your objectives challenging will provide managers with opportunities to employ and improve skills. Encourage them to brush up on communication skills, learn how to work with new software, or hold a meeting.
Mastering Your Subtasks
Subtasks make large-scale projects more manageable and leave less room for error. When employed correctly, subtasks deliver more precise estimates, enhance efficiencies, and provide full transparency.
There are two ways to determine subtasks:
- Top-down method: Identify major phases, lumping smaller tasks within each phase.
- Bottom-up method: List all the minor tasks that require completion, matching them with the appropriate phase.
Ensure that your subtasks are relevant, measurable, clearly defined, and adhere to a specified end date.
The Bottom Line
Task delegation is an imperative part of growing businesses. However, you’ll want to stay cautious of how you delegate. The key isn’t to achieve milestones within a certain period—delegation should empower employees, strengthen the trust between you and new managers, and provide a positive career trajectory.
If you’re ready to start delegating tasks, use Vidstep to create clear and concise video instructions. This powerful tool can streamline new processes by helping you develop shareable and scalable demonstrations. Start your free trial today and keep your employees engaged.