How to Delegate
My children often tell me that my job is simple because all I have to do is sit around all day and tell people what to do!
To someone without good leadership skills I am sure this is the way they see it.
But, knowing the proper way in how to delegate any type of work definitely requires good leadership skills.
Because there is a right and wrong way to do it!
One of the first requirements is that you must make sure that the work is something that can be delegated. As a general rule you can not delegate your responsibility. But do not misunderstand that to mean that the person would not be responsible for what they are asked to do. It would just mean that you too, would ultimately be responsible.
As a general example, if you were the CEO of a company, and you delegated the financial reports to your senior accountant and they reported incorrectly you would still be responsible for the results. Now that doesn't mean you wouldn't hold the accountant responsible also, but ultimately you as the CEO would be held accountable.
There may be some exceptions to this, but as a general rule you can not delegate responsibility.
Knowing how to delegate is a skill that I have gotten very good at. Just like any good leader, creating a reason for the person you are delegating a task to is a key part of the process.
I always try my best to help the person completely understand what I need to be accomplished and why. The why is extremely important! I believe the why helps with motivating your employee.
Now let me try to fill you in on the details of how to delegate.
When you are delegating a task to an employee make sure you give them the general details of what you want done, and any guidelines that they must stay within. Do not give them step by step instructions! That isn't delegating. That isn't anything more than directing work.
The last thing you want to do is to just give a list of things to do to someone. Again, that is not delegating.
Give general instructions as to what needs to be accomplished, such as, we need to relocate all of the occupants in that building to somewhere else while they are doing renovations. Give them some time tables, the why, general guidelines as to what the employees may need at the temporary site, such as computers and Internet, desks, budget information, etc.
With an assignment like this you can check back in with them for a variety of things. One of which might be to review the plan as they are going along to make sure the time tables are being met. But, don't forget that you have released this to them to accomplish. Do not become involved unless you take it back away from them, or they ask for your input.
If you do take it away from them, it should only be because they are failing. Otherwise you risk damaging the relationship with them.
Do not micro manage this or any project. You pay your employees to do a job. Let them do it. The more comfortable you are at knowing how to delegate the more comfortable you will be with releasing tasks to individuals. After a few times of delegating tasks you will be able to fully release a project to them, with less and less oversight.
So here is an example of how to delegate!
Currently we are experiencing a huge rise in utility costs over the last two months and we need to see if we can pin point any problems with our heating and cooling system. Please analyze the entire system and let me know what course of action you recommend. If you need anything to assist you in the process, such as technical help from a vendor, feel free to contact them and get them involved. Just let me know what that will cost first so that I can budget for it. I would like to see this accomplished within the next thirty days so we can hopefully begin to see a reduction in our utility costs. Let me know by the end of the week what direction you are planning to going in.
This is only an example but should give you a good idea of how to delegate.