Eight tips to improve your delegating

posted by Sam Warner
15 July 2019

Great leaders have the confidence to delegate effectively.

There’s always a danger of doing too much yourself so here are eight tips to improve your delegating:

1. Understanding your team. With a new team, avoid immediate changes. Use the first three months to get to know everyone, understand their ways of working, preferred communication styles etc. Understand their deliverables, challenges, touchpoints with other teams. This will pay off in the long run.

2. Sharing goals. Be clear about your vision and mission and share it. If your team understands the direction, and objectives they’ll think about how they can contribute.

3. Giving feedback. If you can’t give usable feedback it’ll become challenging to keep delegating. Give specific examples of what went well or didn’t go well and why. Help them articulate how they might mitigate anything that didn’t go well in future, so the issues melt away.

4. Requesting help. If employees feel respected, they’ll offer help in achieving your objectives. Be clear that you’ll rewards effort and help them succeed. If your team can see your vulnerable side, where you don’t have all the answers, they’ll know that you value their knowledge and experience when solving problems.

5. Building skills. If you have no silos delegating tasks across the team will upskill everyone. This will ensure that no one returning from holiday etc, faces a pile of work, as it’s been absorbed by the team. It’s really important to support them, advise them and check in with them (without micromanaging) when completing new tasks. 

6. Improving problem solving. If you’re genuinely approachable you can build a culture of problem solving. Ask your team to bring you solutions and ideas. They’ll feel empowered to figure out how to fix things before requesting approval to go ahead.

7. Explaining why before how. People need to understand why a task is necessary to appreciate the value they’re delivering and how it fits into the bigger picture. When giving instructions be specific about the desired end result. Outline accountabilities, responsibilities and authority. Be clear on touch points/milestones and deadlines and get them diarised. Organise a review once the work has ended for feedback.

8. Improving self-awareness. Understanding your impact on others will enhance your ability to delegate effectively. Seek to understand first, then question. Listening is the most useful skill to cultivate. It validates the person speaking and they’ll feel heard. Ask for feedback from your team and let them see you’re paying attention and adapting.

☛ Sam Warner is a member of Toastmasters International

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