Need More Time in Your Work Day?
Did you know that there is a tool that can be used to streamline your work, and potentially grow the skills of subordinates or peers around you? It’s simple to use, but not always easy.
That tool is delegation!
One way to keep your workload under control is to Just Say No when you’re asked to take on more tasks that you can realistically handle. Another effective way to do that is to learn to delegate work to others.
Now, I know what this may sound like…isn’t that making other people do my job?
No. This is about effectively assessing your workload and capacity and maximizing opportunities to get more done through others.
Once you understand your workload and capacity, give yourself permission not to have to do it all personally. Break yourself of this habit and look for ways that would increase your productivity.
I learned to delegate when I was a project manager. The projects I was given were more than I alone could handle, so I recommended different individuals to my manager to join me in the effort. I set up delegation of tasks and accountability to these others. I was glad I had this experience because when I went from being an individual contributor to having direct reports, delegation was expected of me.
Even though you may not be a leader with a management title, there are still opportunities for you to practice delegation.
Delegation can work the same way, and so, although you may not be a titled leader, there are still opportunities for you to learn and practice the art of delegation.
Now, my hunch is that people aren’t lined up to take on delegated work from you, so how do you get started?
- It starts with an honest assessment of your workload. If you are a manager, there are MANY things that you can effectively delegate to your staff. Usually, it’s the repetitive things such as status reports or attending certain meetings. Perhaps it’s writing a white paper on a subject, or it may be managing a project. Take a look at what can leave your plate, specifically.
- Specify those work items/projects that can be delegated. Note that you will still be involved in oversight at some level, so these should be items that can be realistically delegated.
- Have a discussion with your manager. This is important because your manager may feel that you and you alone should be handling these assignments. You may have to make a case for delegation. The biggest reasons would be the productivity that this would help you attain, and in turn, giving another staff member a new learning opportunity.
- Practice letting go. Understand that there is an art to delegating. It’s not a science. It starts with the assessment, discussion with boss, and then letting go. Letting go of the thought that you can and should do everything or be responsible for everything. Shift your mindset to delegation as a productivity tool, and that you will engage others and their assistance.
- Identify the right person/people. I was someone who always found meaningful work for new Interns because there was a lot to delegate to this group. It gave them an opportunity to learn new things and took effort off my plate. Sometimes an intern would be a great choice, other times, it could be another team member.
- Share the vision of the desired outcome when you delegate. Potentially there may be different outcomes that are possible, and you want to ensure you have the right one defined.
- Include instructions and expectations as well as the vision. It’s important for the individuals that you delegate to! They will need to understand how to get the job done. But also allow for their creativity in reaching the desired goal.
- Open strong communication channels. You want to have open dialog about how the task/project delegated is proceeding. This is not a “once and done” for you. You will need to follow up on progress, roadblocks, etc.
- Give plenty of acknowledgement. Even though it may be your job or their job, the work delegated is being done by someone who deserves credit for it as well as plenty of acknowledgement.
- Find ways to make this work in all aspects of your life. Don’t do it yourself when you can hire this out! Need an assistant to get things done? There are many virtual assistants out there that can meet your needs. Bring in a housekeeper, hire a landscaper, use companies that offer door to door service such as cleaners or laundry. But what about the cost? Figure out what it costs for you to do these things and look at how your time might be better served working on work assignments or spending more time with family and friends.
Take some time to see if delegation can help you in your workload. Delegating tasks can free you up to take on higher levels of work effort and lead to career advancement as well as greater career satisfaction.
Are you trying to do it all? Are there some items that can be delegated? Identify those and follow the steps above to effectively delegate your workload.
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