The Art Of Delegating In 5 Steps

Some people earn authority by being a great leader. And some others have the envious luxury of having authority given to them.

Whatever your case is, there will always be a time in life, whether at work or at home, when you are in a position to entrust another person to do certain tasks.

While having subordinates kowtow to your every request can be a huge ego-booster, every manager or business owner will prefer to have their followers love them if given a choice.

This is a catch 22.

How do you delegate the stuff you hate doing to someone else without being loathed?

On the one side you have the authority to order people around. On the other hand, how are you going to be liked by people who are being ordered around by you?

While being liked by others is not a necessity for effective business operations, a happy and harmonious culture at work and at home can do wonders to a more fulfilling lifestyle.

Here are 5 steps to delegating with style and substance without pissing off those doing the hard work for you.

1) Get the right person

You are intentionally looking for trouble when you appoint an accountant to do marketing related activities.

This is a big source of despise at the workplace.

When employees are being tasked to take on projects that they have no business in getting their hands-on, you are brewing the source of unhappiness right there.

This means that you have to ensure your delegatees have the right skills and knowledge to not just complete the tasks you’ve asked of them, but to also do them efficiently.

If a relevantly skilled staff would be able to complete a project in 3 days and an unskilled one would take 10 days, you can’t blamed anyone else if that unskilled staff gets annoyed at your leadership.

But it might not always be possible to have a team member having the required skills and experience to take on certain projects.

In this case, consider investing in training them. It sure bodes well for the long term.

2) Give a legitimate reason

One of the biggest negative feelings at work is injustice. This is even when there is no injustice in the first place.

But often times, employees are not able to see why certain things happen as they are not kept in the loop of top-level decisions.

If for example, you have 3 people shortlisted to take on a specific task. And none of them have a professional inclination to be great at it. Any of the 3 will be wondering why they have been selected for this extra work when the other 2 are just as “qualified”.

They might feel a sense of injustice.

To navigate around this toxic attitude, provide a good reason for your selection. It might be best to explain this in person so as not to upset group dynamics and put individuals on the spot in front of everyone.

Offer a genuine trait you see in him/her that makes you think he/she is the best person for the job.

This could potentially be seen as a compliment and increase his/her degree of acceptance. Raising motivation to do the tasks at the same time.

3) Empathize

Everyone has a lot on their table. But it probably won’t surprise you that every individual sees their to-do list as the longest and toughest to complete among everyone else.

Seldom would you find workers who declares a lack of work and volunteer for extra work just to fill up their schedules.

The funny thing is that while almost all employees would detest being the receiver of extra work, they will often accept it as long as it’s been delegated by the boss.

So while you can coerce someone to do something, you might want to practice a little empathy to get on the good side of your staff.

This can be easily attained by speaking to them personally about recognizing their hectic workload. And saying why you feel they are the best people for the job.

It might not be convincing, but it can sure enhance your reputation as a people manager.

4) Avoid micro-managing

We have all been guilty of it. And everyone would have probably experienced being on the receiving end of it in the past. And boy do I hate it.

It is bad enough a feeling to be micro-managed while doing tasks related to daily routines. And when “extra” tasks are being micro-managed, the annoyance level can multiply tenfold.

This is especially when you have not properly conducted steps 1 to 3. Micromanaging at this point would just compound the unhappiness a delegatee is feeling.

The best way is to carefully elaborate the task the first time and explain what has to be done. Then leave it to them to settle it. Only get involved when you clearly see things going in the wrong direction.

5) Reward

What would you do if you had taken on extra duties? Well if you have been pursuing a corporate career for a while and street smart, you would make sure you get appreciated at the year end when appraisal time arrives.

This can translate to a bigger annual bonus!

You staff might or might not have this mentality. But it sure doesn’t hurt to reward them for their efforts.

Various types of rewards can have varying value to each person. So you will have to determine what kind of rewards are most suited for your company.

For example, a closely knitted young group of colleagues might value a vacation more than anything else. And older staff might value an increase in benefits. Some might be thrilled at getting more recognition and credibility.

But of course, the most universally accepted reward is money in terms of salary increase or a beefy bonus package.

Practice at home

Unless you are a natural born leader, effective delegating takes practice. And home is a very good place to start practicing.

  • Get every member involved in housekeeping
  • Determine specific tasks for specific family members… and rotate
  • Start with a few easy tasks and work your way up to more and more difficulty

Entrepreneurs are often guilty of doing too much themselves. This is a common trait as many often only believe in themselves.

If you are a victim of this behavior, you have to learn to let it go. There is no way you can do everything yourself. Learn trust the ability of your staff and learn to delegate effectively.

This will free you up to conduct activities that add the most value to your business.