As a leader, you’re likely used to wearing a lot of hats — but as your business grows, there will come a time when you can’t do it all on your own. In order for your business to scale and your team to be truly effective, it’s important to not only delegate tasks, but to also do it the right way. 

The art of delegation is a vital — yet often overlooked — team management skill. According to the late London Business School professor John Hunt, only 30% of managers believe they delegate well, and only a third of those managers are considered good delegators by their team. 

On the flip side, a Gallup study found that businesses led by managers who delegate well saw growth that was 112% greater than those led by managers who did not delegate effectively. 

Make the most of your time and your team’s skill set by letting them take the reins while you focus on providing strategic direction, setting priorities, and providing thoughtful feedback. Here’s how to do it. 

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Step 1: Decide what you want to delegate 

Conduct a thoughtful, detailed audit of your personal workload and determine which tasks and projects another team member can handle with the right training or support. You’ll likely want to maintain control over high-level project factors, like setting the strategy and priorities, but your employees can take on the day-to-day execution. 

An easy place to start is to examine tasks that are regularly repeated and delegate them if it makes sense. This will save you plenty of time in the long run. 

Step 2: Establish clear goals 

Once you know which initiatives you want to hand off to your team, ask yourself: What is the desired result of this project? What outcome do I expect from the delegated tasks? 

Clarify the goals, deadlines, and standards of the initiative before delegating it to your team. Doing so will set your team up for success and pave the way for them to accomplish the task on time. 

A helpful strategy for establishing your expectations is to use SMART goals: 

  • Specific: Does it target a specific area for improvement? 
  • Measurable: How are you measuring success?
  • Achievable: Is it reachable?
  • Realistic: Is it actually possible to achieve?
  • Time-related: When does it need to be achieved by?

Step 3: Choose who you’re delegating to

Perhaps the most important factor of effective delegation is choosing the right person to take on the job. Yes, you want to pick a team member who can execute on the task properly after a little training. However, it’s best to also choose someone who will be excited about the project. 

Maybe you have a team member who is itching to take on more responsibility or tackle more growth opportunities. Or maybe the project involves an area of the business that especially interests a particular employee. Giving them the chance to work on something new will instill trust among your team and motivate them to do their best work. 

It’s also important to note that you shouldn’t delegate any tasks to a team member who already has too much on their plate. An easy way to prevent this is to use a tool like Harvest to measure team capacity. Our unique time tracking reports allow you to visualize who’s overworked (and who’s under-utilized) at a glance, meaning you can quickly understand who’s ready to take on more work. 

Step 4: Confirm their commitment 

It may sound obvious that the next step is to let your team member know you’re handing them a new project, but it’s a very crucial step. Instead of simply explaining the task, highlight why it’s important — and also why you chose them specifically to take it on. 

Be sure to provide them with the goals and expectations you laid out in step two. Clearly explain your deadline and deliverables expectations, and leave no room for confusion so they know exactly what they’re responsible for. Make sure they’re fully on board and are aware of the expectations by getting clear confirmation from them. 

Step 5: Provide the right guidance 

As soon as you’ve got the green light from your team member, ask what kind of support they would prefer in the process. Every employee is different – some may want more frequent check-ins while others prefer a more autonomous work style. Aligning with their engagement style as closely as possible will give them the confidence they need to get the job done. 

And remember: you delegated the task to someone else, which means you should resist the urge to micromanage them throughout the process. Doing so will sometimes lead to a decrease in morale. Trust their ability to do the job — after all, you hired them for a reason. 

By carrying out your delegation process in a thoughtful way, you’ll not only boost your team’s confidence but also increase overall growth opportunities for your business. And for insights into how time is spent on the delegated tasks and more, sign up for a free Harvest trial today