Effective delegation skill

Delegation skill is the ability to effectively assign task responsibility and authority to others. Or, in other words, delegation skill is your ability to get things done by using work and time of other people.

Effective delegation is a critical survival skill for managers and supervisors, and this is what many delegation training resources are about. Yet, what is less often emphasized is that understanding delegation skill and knowing how to use it right is an important personal time management skill. No matter if you have subordinates or bosses, if it is at work or at home.

Do you have to do everything yourself?

The delegation process normally starts from asking yourself if you are the right person to do the task, and then who is the right person for this task. A common trap here is thinking like "If you want anything done right, you have to do it yourself". Such thinking is a sure way to stay overloaded with the same kind of work. It is a severe limit on how far you can go and how much you can grow in your job, business, or personal life.

Who should do it then?

The first important component of the delegation skill is choosing the right person to delegate the task to (delegatee).

You can use the following simple strategies. First, if you have subordinates, can any of them do the task at lower cost than you? If you are concerned with that they do it worse than you, can they do it at least 80 percent as good as you would, or could you train them to do it so?

If the task requires making decisions you are not authorized to make, when it is very right to delegate it to your boss.

Find a win-win deal

Outside the standard boss-subordinate situation, a key component of the delegation skill is the ability to find a win-win deal, and still delegate the task to someone.

A common win-win situation is when delegating the task saves your time and gives a valuable learning experience, skill training, or an interesting opportunity for the delegatee.

One more situation is task or service exchange, when someone does a task for you in exchange for that you do another task for her/him. Finally, it may be more effective just to buy some particular service from outside, or delegate the task to technologies, for example, to some special software.

You still have responsibilities

For your delegation skill to work, make sure that you will be able to monitor the progress of task execution and know if the task is actually completed. When you delegate, normally you are still responsible for that the task is completed. Avoid delegation when you are unable to monitor the completion status.

Yet, delegate the whole task

What you live to the delegatee is the responsibility for how the task is executed, the method of execution. When you do this, for the delegation to be effective it is important that you delegate the whole task. You need to effectively and clearly communicate to the delegatee what outcome is expected and what requirement are for the task results.

This is very important for the delegatee's motivation and performance, as well as for your satisfaction with the task results.

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