Delegation: Get 100% of Tasks Done


What is delegation?

Delegation is the process of assigning tasks which must be done by a superior along with the necessary discretion to a subordinate.

Yes, this is a management action many managers reasonably believe to be the secret of success. People who know how to delegate reach the heights in business faster and their employees become more efficient. Managers who know how to use delegation, have every reason to be called good organizers: they do not ask for positions - they are being asked.

Delegation is the organization of work in which the leader distributes certain tasks among subordinates. You can call it differently: delegation is the process of assigning tasks which must be done by a superior along with the necessary discretion to a subordinate.

How to learn to delegate tasks willingly, without thinking that it is better to do it yourself than to redo it 10 times? After all, you cannot earn all of the money and you cannot finish all of the tasks.

Which tasks to delegate?

There are 3 types of tasks that you almost always have to delegate to others:

  1. Routine cases. My opinion is that for effective business development managers should be focused on the main parts of projects, without getting into details. Pedantic approach to control, the desire to control everything and to know everything leads to an excessive loss of time. Keeping track of everything is impossible. No manager will be able to do all the work alone.
  2. Specific work. There are always tasks which can only be done well by professionals. Yes, let the programmer program, let the technical administrator manage new business processing, and let the office manager control the flow of documents and emails. Build the workflow so that each employee understands and performs the duties well, so you don't have to control them.
  3. Things that you don't like. Yes, that's right. If you do not like what you are doing at the moment, you have two options: keep doing it or delegate to a person who will possibly enjoy doing it. And if not, then offer this person money or some alternative along the lines of “you help me – I help you”.

Common problems with delegation

The delegation consists of several parts: Delegation = Assignment + Authority + Trust.

Perhaps you have had thoughts like: “If you want to do the job well, do it yourself.” or “I am the only person who can really be trusted with doing this.” or “No one will work better than I do." or "I'm indispensable." 

In general, however, these are classic misconceptions, which can be expressed in short definitions:

"Egomania" (no one can do this job better than I),

"Perversity" (it is easier to do the job myself than explain how to do it to others)

"Self-deception" (I have been working for so long and so well that I don't make mistakes),

"Fear of underestimation" (if someone will do the job better than me, I'll look bad),

"Simplicity" (I can do all the work myself, I don't need help),

"Character" (working with others is too hard for me).

Delegation is not just dumping urgent and unpleasant tasks on others or the rejection of obligations. Abandoning your obligations does not mean that you give away the responsibility too. Responsibility can be delegated but cannot be transferred, because the control is still yours.

To find out how to delegate let’s take the formula called 5W1H or the Kipling method. In one of his poems, "I Keep Six Honest Serving Men..." he outlined 6 simple questions: What, When, Why, Who, Where and How.

How to delegate using 5W1H technique?

The 5W1H technique involves the extraction of new information by answering a number of probing questions. You need to answer all the questions prior to delegation. They are: What needs to be done? Why is this task important? Where should it be done? When this task has to be finished? Who is responsible for the result? How to do it?

Answering all these questions will allow you to maximize the success of delegating a particular task. The ability to put reasonable questions is a sign of intelligence and discernment.

To simplify, you have to answer three main questions before delegating:

  1. What is the purpose of this task? Most importantly, you, as the leader, must clearly set a goal and set a specific end result.

Discuss the task with the employee and find out his or her attitude towards it. Let the employee tell how he or she sees the role of the performer of this task and the way of solving it. From my experience, I can say that the delegation of authority will be more effective if it is a partnership instead of a boss-subordinate relationship. 

  1. Why you or the person you trust should do it? Not every employee can perform the task the way you would like. Therefore, I advise paying special attention to the selection of the person to whom you will delegate. For starters, you must consider the level of qualifications and experience. Pay attention to the employee's workload. You should remember that excessive tasks inevitably lower the quality of work. And finally, consider the personal qualities of the employee. Because only the employee who wants to do the task does it well. The task should not put the employee under stress; otherwise, the problem will not be solved efficiently.
  2. How can I solve the problem? Indicate the employee's degree of freedom in actions. For example, it will be a fulfillment of strict requirements on the list, or sufficient freedom in actions and decisions of the employee, or complete freedom, the main thing is that the result must match your expectations and requirements.

You should also remember that you need to give the employee as much authority as needed to finish the task. If you give them too much of it, they might abuse it, and if you give too little they might not achieve the goal.

Thus, delegation can be realized with a simple formula. Remember, the foundation of any successful business is proper delegation of authority. You can be a genius and a tireless workaholic, but if you do not assign tasks to subordinates, you can lose everything that you have been working so hard on. By delegating, you are buying time.