Leadership is not something that a person is born with, but rather a skill that is learned and cultivated through experience and time. An effective leader has many noble characteristics, but their main strength will be the ability to complete the mission, whether it’s a simple task or a year-long project. The leader will wear many hats throughout any project, but a smart leader knows when and how to delegate for the purpose of reaching their goals and accomplishing what they set out to do.
There are many benefits to delegating versus trying to do it all on our own, but letting go of control is something most people in leadership roles struggle with. In fact, many would rather do it themselves than risking one of their team members unsatisfactorily completing the task. There are right ways and wrong ways to delegate, and by doing it the right way, you can ensure positive results for everyone involved.
Ways to Effectively Delegate
Have you ever noticed that when you give someone a list of tasks to complete, they rarely go above and beyond what is asked? Some of your team will strive to impress you, but for the most part, people do what is expected unless there is some sort of incentive provided or freedom offered to think creatively for better results. Here are some easy ways to delegate more effectively. By incorporating these suggestions, you can motivate your employees to take charge and go above and beyond your expectations:
- Give your team a sense of ownership, not simply a list of things to do. Remember that your team was hired for their skills and abilities, so why not use them to the project’s advantage? If the team feels like their contributions are helping to grow your company, its vision and its ideas, then that team will be more motivated to do what is necessary to achieve the desired results. They might also be more willing to jump on and assist with other projects. Otherwise, they may feel micromanaged and as though they are not trusted with any responsibility.
- Involve your team in big-picture meetings. Your team can’t read your mind, so it’s unfair to become frustrated when they can’t see “your vision.” By making it the group’s vision, you keep your workers engaged, which will most likely translate to better production, higher-quality products and more effective strategizing. These meetings should occur as necessary, but try to schedule at least one per month to ensure that your team knows where they stand with respect to performance, milestones and the project’s ongoing progress.
- Listen to your team. Your team devotes a lot of time to your business, so much so that they might know more about what they’re working on (and with whom they are working) than you do. Be open to their suggestions. If they feel like a simple change to operational procedure can boost production, genuinely consider the change. If they think a co-worker might be better suited at another position, give that worker a chance to prove their utility in another role. And if your employee’s suggestions really did boost production, reward him or her with a bonus or a promotion. Your employees want to know that they are being heard and are contributing to the greater goals of the business. You’re not obligated to schedule formal chats, but make it evident that you are open to any suggestions that might improve the way you conduct business.
- Provide solutions. Every project will have obstacles, but when you have delegated a certain task and it returns incomplete, how will you respond? Rather than being negative towards the person who couldn’t complete it, ask if they have any suggestions to alleviate the issue. If they don’t, try to work out a solution together. Aside from being open to your employee’s ideas, delegating is also about empathizing with your workers and using that understanding to enhance their roles within the business.
- Learn from your decisions. If you decide to delegate a particular task and it turns out well, remember how it all came to pass, and repeat the process. If there was a snag or major problem, reconsider what you did, and try to identify the issue. Get your team involved in finding solutions to your problems. If someone has the seemingly perfect suggestion to address the issue, give him or her the reins to take control of the project. Involving your team in the problem-solving process allows them to see projects from a wider perspective. It can also motivate them to take charge and tackle smaller issues on their own, leaving you to focus on the bigger picture.
The best leaders know when to delegate, but they can still make mistakes when it comes to choosing the right people for the job. Regardless of how it turns out, delegation can be the start of internal growth within any organization. Once it starts, your team will begin to take ownership of their tasks, and you can focus on the continued success of your enterprise instead of minor operational projects.