Delegating work effectively is the key to saving precious time and increasing business productivity. Knowing how to delegate work is an important management skill. Delegation means building teams to share the workload so that you can focus on what you can personally manage. For instance, business transcription services are a typical example of successful delegation of the task of producing standard documentation from audio recordings of various activities to a skilled virtual team. Within the workplace, proper delegation provides for team development, builds motivation, and gets work done in less time.
What does delegation mean? According to the Society for Human Resource Management, “Real delegation is assigning responsibility for outcomes along with the authority to do what is needed to produce the desired results”.
Managers who do not understand the importance of delegation shy away from assigning tasks to employees because they believe that others cannot do the work as well as they can. Other reasons managers don’t delegate include: they don’t want to lose control, they don’t have faith in employees’ commitment to quality, they think others may do a better job than they can which will undermine their position, they don’t want to overload their already overworked employees, or simply because they like doing the work themselves.
However, in the contemporary business world, decentralization and delegation are necessary for managers and employees to grow and advance to higher positions, while building their organization. As leading coach on the topics of Leadership Brian Tracy points out, “If you want the job done right, you have to learn how to delegate it properly so that it can be done to the proper standard”.
Success with delegation depends on assigning the right work to the right people. This brings us to the question – what tasks can managers and team leaders delegate?
Routine tasks: Tasks that are minor or need to be done on a routine basis may seem unimportant, but they do matter if they are necessary. For example, booking flights and hotel accommodation or registering for a conference may not take much time, but they do count if you have more important matters to attend to.
Tedious, time-consuming tasks: Don’t waste your time trying to handle tasks that are time-consuming and don’t necessarily need your attention to complete. If the work needs your direction, delegate the research and groundwork so that you can take over when it is almost complete. This is important if you need to spend more time planning and strategizing. On the macro-level, digital transcription of meetings and conferences is a typical time-consuming but important task that companies farm out.
Time-sensitive tasks: Delegate important and time-sensitive tasks so that they can be done simultaneously with other project-based deadlines. Of course, you can’t delegate critical, time-sensitive responsibilities where you can’t afford mistakes, or those that require your specific managerial skills.
Tasks that others can do better: Make use of your team members’ skills and abilities by assigning them tasks they can do better. In fact, you should give away tasks that you are not good at but others would excel in, for instance, preparing and designing PowerPoint slides for a team meeting.
Teachable tasks: You can train a team member to draft and deliver the presentation deck to the team. Giving team leaders the right kind of presentation training will allow them to develop their full potential and fill in for you when needed.
Tasks to develop talent: Delegate work that is good for your team members’ development. If you are good at something, delegating the task would give others to develop additional skills.
Delegate the entire task: Based on your team members’ skill and experience, delegate the entire job. By giving people full authority over the work, they will feel motivated to complete it successfully. Make sure that the assigned person takes complete responsibility for the task and is competent to handle it.
Tasks others will enjoy doing: If a people volunteer to do a job because they enjoy doing it or find it interesting, give it to them. This might be a task that you repeatedly performed, and assigning it to someone else will also relieve monotony.
Besides deciding what tasks to delegate, assigning responsibility effectively also means:
- Choosing the right people
- Delegating with participation and discussion, that is, communicating delegation
- Delegate clear, measurable outcomes
- Giving team members the resources and support to do the job
- Making sure they have ample freedom to work efficiently
- Establishing consistent standards and expectations
- Evaluating performance
- Providing encouragement and feedback
- Having a proper follow-up and review system
Delegation has special significance in the field of outsourcing. High costs and training needs are factors driving the demand for business transcription services. Companies delegate their record documentation requirements to experts, enabling them to get the task completed successfully in fast turnaround time. Such delegation allows businesses to focus on their core activities and improve efficiency and productivity.