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How to Delegate Tasks

Becoming a leader, owning a business and working as a team means you have to delegate tasks. Some people were born to tell others what to do, while others are a little more passive aggressive and prefer to just go with the flow. Unfortunately, you can’t learn how to confidently delegate tasks overnight, and people aren’t just going to do what you want them to do because they read your mind. It takes practice, patience and confidence to tell others what you need from them, in any position you’re in.

Since this is a common struggle of business owners, employees and general people alike, we wanted to shed a little light on some of our favourite practices to get comfortable with telling others what you need. Remember that this isn’t done in one session, one week or even one month sometimes. You need to constantly remind yourself it’s your responsibility and that you are capable of delegating tasks effectively.

Analyze What Others Can Do

Before you start giving out instructions to people, you should consider what can be done by you and what you aren’t able to handle. This requires you to analyze your schedule, your capabilities and knowledge, and your ability to effectively and efficiently accomplish tasks.

If you find that you don’t have enough time, don’t have the education or knowledge on how to do something, or simply can’t accomplish it by the due date, you should consider asking for help on a project or delegating it to someone else.

When you do this, consider someone who has the time, or who you think might have the time, someone who is educated and knowledgeable about the topic or task and who can help you or can complete the task on their own by the due date.

If you’ve just started a job, and are essentially the “bottom of the food chain” maybe you should consider asking for help before delegating tasks to co-workers. This way you seem more collaborative than bossy and are able to gain relationships, as opposed to enemies.

Practice Letting Go

Letting go is tough for anyone to do. Whether you’ve owned your business for 20 years, have worked on the same project for 6 months or struggle trusting that anyone else can do work as good (or better) than yours.

We don’t recommend going cold turkey and letting everything go at once. That only creates more stress and anxiety that you really don’t need. Instead, you should practice delegating smaller projects or tasks to people that you trust won’t disappoint you or the organization. As you recognize that people are effectively and efficiently completing projects delegated to them, you’ll notice yourself becoming more trusting of others and becoming more confident in letting other people chime in on projects or handle clients on their own.

Its a slow process but it’s worth it. Think of it like dating– you wouldn’t trust someone right away if they asked you to marry them on the first date. It usually takes time to get to know someone; to trust them, to know all the little details about them, and to love them. Only then do you accept a proposal, when you trust that they can make you happy, because they’ve shown to you that they can and have in the past. The same thing goes for work. It takes a while before you can fully trust someone else to do tasks for you, but once they prove to you that they are willing and capable, it makes it easier for you to trust them and to delegate more tasks and projects to them in the future.

Understand Strengths and Weaknesses

Before you delegate tasks to anyone, it’s important to consider their varying strengths and weaknesses. As much as you want to help your friend and give them a chance to work on a project– if you know that they don’t have the knowledge or education to complete it, you might want to consider a better option.

When it comes to delegating complete projects to people, you should look at their trustworthiness when it comes to meeting deadlines and producing valuable work, as well as their reputation in the company. Are they someone who never shows up to company meetings? Do they avoid confrontation at all costs and would rather work anywhere else? Do they have a general know-how of that project and have proven to be a good candidate?

If you decide that the candidate you have chosen is the best option, but they have some weaknesses that might affect the work, don’t be afraid to communicate that. Tell them what you’re thinking and offer solutions for how they can improve or assistance while they take the lead on the project. Communicating your thoughts prior to delegating a task can be helpful in providing the candidate a clear picture of what you want and how you want it done. This avoids disappointment on both ends and creates a valuable relationship for the future.


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