A recent study by the Center for Creative Leadership found that around 38% of new leaders fail within their first 18 months. This is why leaders must pay attention to how they do their job, as it directly contributes to the completion of tasks and execution of projects.
However, those who want to lead must first have the necessary skills in order to be considered a strong leader. And one key leadership skill that all successful leaders need is a good understanding of how to delegate tasks efficiently. As a leader, you have a unique point of view in which you are able to oversee the different processes. Proper distribution of duties allows teams to reach goals successfully and go through tasks more efficiently.
If this is a leadership skill you want to master, here are a few ways you can more effectively delegate tasks:
Play to your team members’ strengths
One way to effectively delegate is by assigning tasks in accordance with your team members’ strengths. Doing so increases productivity by 12.5% since the strength of one member compensates for the weakness of others. To add, it further improves the strengths of that employee, allowing them to master the skill. For instance, a job that requires heavy computation should be given to someone with excellent mathematical skills. On the other hand, a task that asks for the interpretation of data should be assigned to someone with great analytical skills.
To determine employee strengths, ask them directly what their strong points are. This way, they can list their strengths without feeling like they’re being boastful. Another is to observe them and analyze their past work. Take note of what type of tasks each person does exceptionally well.
Clarify the desired outcome per assignment
Delegation should not stop at assigning responsibilities. The end goal for each task must be determined so that everyone knows what exactly needs to be accomplished. Doing so will let everyone understand what their task contributes to a certain project.
For example, if you appoint someone to make a list of event venues, include in your instruction the type needed and the purpose for it. Perhaps, the venue is for a product launch so it should be able to hold at least a hundred people; it should also be located in the middle of the city, allowing attendees easier access. This way, team members have a clear view of what the completion of their tasks entails, and what exactly they should do to deliver successfully.
Provide appropriate resources if needed
It’s part of your job as a leader to secure the needed training, resources, and materials for the work delegated. This helps the assigned person effectively accomplish their task without issue and achieve the desired outcome. Setting them up for a job with incomplete resources will only frustrate them and could result in failure. If they need to use certain software for a task, for instance, ensure that it is available on their device. This lessens the possibility of an unaccomplished task that will only make its way back to your to-do list and cause possible delays.
Co-founder of the design start-up Alterea, Anahita Dalmia, emphasizes that aside from tools, giving the right information in an appropriate format also allows employees to do their best work. As an example, there may be a team member who needs a one-page write-up with examples so they know exactly how to do the job. Make it a point to ask them how they prefer to be instructed and given resources for better task delegation.
Establish a means of communication
Team members must have a way to communicate with you in case they run into trouble or need guidance. Whether it is through knocking on your office door or sending an email, make sure that they have a way to reach you. Not only is this beneficial for your team, but also for you, as it allows you to better monitor their tasks.
A few programs you can utilize are Kissflow Project and Slack. Kissflow is a project management platform that supports task management while Slack is a work messaging program that can be used for updates. With these, set up regular check-ins to see their progress or ask if they need any assistance. This can also be a way to provide feedback and certify that each task is being accomplished according to plan.
Good leadership entails effective delegation. This is done by providing the necessary resources, assigning tasks depending on a person’s strong points, creating a channel for communication, and being clear about the intended results.
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Guest article by Audine Malcolm