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Tips on Delegating the Right Way

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Counting on others to complete tasks can be hard for managers. If you're new, delegating work seems to go against your immediate goal to establish yourself and prove you can do the job effectively. When you've been around for awhile, it's hard to get out of your comfort zone and assign tasks to others you are used doing yourself. When handled correctly, delegating actually elevates a supervisor's standing in the eyes of subordinates. It empowers workers, promotes a team spirit, and gives people a sense of responsibility while motivating them. Here are five tips to delegate successfully so employees will feel trusted, accountable, and valued.

#1 When You Want Something Done...
The saying "When you want to get something done, do it yourself" may be snappy and often accurate, but this attitude will only hamstring your efforts to delegate. Your approach to delegating tasks speaks volumes about how people will respond. Remember, you are not pawning off work on people or asking them to do things they aren't capable of. You are entrusting them with a job and making yourself available when they have questions or hit bumps in the road.

#2 Be Specific
Explain why a job is being delegated and why you chose an individual as the go to person. Keep in mind that communicating exactly how you want things done can be overbearing for subordinates who have their own preferred methods for producing. Be clear and specific about the results you want and pinpoint who is accountable for each phase of a project. "In large organizations we sometimes see a hall of mirrors effect with people passing work along to others that has been delegated to them," says HR specialist Andy Raymond. Ensure that workers who are assigned tasks aren't passing the buck and after you talk to people ask them to summarize things back to you.

#3 Consider the Resources
Special projects often require different materials, equipment, locations and funding. Make a complete list of everything the job demands and determine a budget for the resources needed. "When employees perceive that supervisors aren't giving them the tools they need to do a job right, they see it as an acceptable excuse to do it wrong," says Raymond. Give them the tools and you greatly eliminate the chances of poor performance.

#4 Status, Please
Periodically, it's good to get status reports from workers on how a project is going. Written reports are preferable because they cover what was accomplished previously and upcoming plans. Deadlines are a good idea for time sensitive tasks and give people an intermittent sense of accomplishment. Give employees room for feedback and encourage them to discuss issues they are having.

#5 Show Gratitude
Acknowledging a job well done may seem obvious, but managers sometimes fail to show their gratitude. They adopt the mindset that people are only doing what they were told to do. Avoid this trap by rewarding employees for their performance. When it merits it, recognize their success in a group setting that makes their peers a part of things.

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