One of the most important aspects of managing a project is delegating work. While we know you’re a superstar, the fact is, you simply can’t do all of the heavy lifting yourself. You need team members to take on tasks so you can focus on other priorities.
Plus, delegating work enables your coworkers to get engaged and show off their strengths.
Whether you lead a small team or oversee multiple projects, handing off assignments to other team members helps you meet your goals and makes the process smoother. But figuring out how to delegate work is sometimes easier said than done — especially if you’re new to the management game.
Here, we’ll dive deeper into what delegation is, offer guidance on when to delegate tasks, and highlight the numerous benefits of handing off work to other team members. Then, we’ll offer tips on how to delegate work so you can be a more effective manager. 🤩
- What Is Delegation?
- When to Delegate Tasks
- Benefits of Delegating Work Responsibilities
- 10 Tips on How to Delegate Work More Effectively
- 1. Decide what to delegate
- 2. Create a framework for clear communication
- 3. Know your team’s strengths
- 4. Create priorities
- 5. Offer context and background
- 6. Provide support where it’s needed
- 7. Prioritize results over the process
- 8. Focus on autonomy but check-in
- 9. Celebrate wins
- 10. Review work and use feedback to inform your process
What Is Delegation?
Delegation is the process of reassigning specific tasks to other people on your team. It’s done so that team leads and managers are able to focus their efforts elsewhere while having another team member handle tasks you don’t have time for. Delegation also comes into play when a task or activity is better suited to the skillset of someone on the team.
Delegation is a critical component of team management, but it’s also intimidating, particularly for new managers.
For some managers, letting go is hard. This is especially true if you’re a manager that likes having control and being a contributor to each and every task.
For other managers, figuring out the right tasks to delegate is challenging. Other times, task management and organization can be chaotic, making it hard to delegate even if you want to.
This management activity also requires strong leadership skills and delegation skills. To do it effectively, you need to communicate clearly, be organized, and offer support. You also need to be able to identify when you should do the work yourself and when you should delegate tasks. 🛠️
When to Delegate Tasks
Knowing the right tasks to delegate isn’t an exact science, it’s more of an art. There isn’t a specific scenario where all tasks have to be delegated. It really comes down to your business needs, the bandwidth of your team, and desired outcomes.
However, there are some guidelines you can use to decide which tasks you should hand off in your delegation process. Start by asking yourself the following questions to determine if you should delegate the work:
- Is this task time-consuming? If you have a lot of tasks on your plate that are taking up a significant portion of your time and attention that could be better spent elsewhere, it may be time to delegate responsibility to someone else who has enough time to take it on
- Is the work recurring? Repeating tasks are often handed off to other team members. This is an easy way to delegate without constantly having to spend time training and handing off new work
- Is someone on the team better equipped to handle this work? If you don’t have the skill set to complete the activity or someone on the team has a deeper knowledge of the topic, consider delegating the work to them
- Does this task offer an opportunity for a team member to grow and build skills? Good leaders want their teams to grow and learn with the company. Identifying delegated tasks that can build on existing skills and provide new knowledge helps meet this goal
- Do I have the bandwidth to effectively train the employee, review their work, and provide support during the delegation process? Delegating tasks isn’t about handing something off and never dealing with it again. You need to play an active role in offering support, guidance, and reviewing the desired results. Make sure you have enough time for this
Deciding how to delegate tasks and which ones are good candidates is a process. Besides asking yourself these questions, consider who you would delegate the work to. Take into account how full their to-do list is, how they’d feel about doing these tasks, and whether or not you think they are likely to succeed. 💪
Benefits of Delegating Work Responsibilities
A good project manager knows how valuable it is to delegate effectively. Not only does it allow you to focus your efforts elsewhere, but delegation skills help build your team, so everyone performs at their best and at your desired outcome. ✨
Here are some of the main benefits of delegation:
- It’s empowering: Delegation allows team members to take a hands-on approach. By being actively engaged, learning new competencies, and playing a role in important projects, team members will feel more closely connected to the company and like they make a difference with their work
- It reduces burnout: When you delegate tasks effectively, you spread out workloads. That way each team member is busy but not overwhelmed or burnt out. A visual into each team member’s workload leads to an increased focus on team well-being and a happy company culture
- It promotes professional development and innovation: By allowing your team to work on tasks on their own, you give them a creative license to come up with innovative solutions and new approaches
- It builds trust and communication: By nature, delegation requires people to communicate effectively. It also supports empowerment since managers trust team members to take on work without micro-managing the process
- It can save time and help you reach new milestones: By divvying up work effectively, it will take less time to complete a project and hit your goals
- It makes budgeting more effective: Breaking down projects into bite-sized tasks for each team member makes budgeting easier since you have a clear road map of all resources and individuals involved
10 Tips on How to Delegate Work More Effectively
Now that you know what makes up delegated work, when to implement it, and the benefits of picking the right person, it’s time to think about how you will put it into practice. Whether it’s your first time delegating or you’re looking for ways to build your skills, here are 10 helpful tips for effective delegation. 🌻
1. Decide what to delegate
The first thing you need to do is figure out what work you want to hand off. As an entrepreneur, you may delegate just a few tasks to an assistant or freelancer. As a project manager or team lead, you might want to delegate dozens of tasks to different departments.
However you choose to delegate, it’s important to think about exactly what you want to transition to other team members.
In general, the following types of work are great candidates for delegation:
- Recurring tasks
- Work that matches a team member’s expertise or interests
- Work that’s related to a person’s goals
2. Create a framework for clear communication
As a team lead, you know how vital communication is. Delegation is no different. You need to lay out a clear framework and expectations for communication.
Use ClickUp’s Delegation of Authority Matrix template to streamline decision-making in your team. Nine custom fields let you assign authority while three views enable you to create an information database so everyone knows who’s in charge of what.
Built-in tracking tools and project dependency warnings keep you aware of any potential risks and milestone successes.
Check out these Mac database tools!
3. Know your team’s strengths
When you delegate work, you want to be sure that the person you’re assigning it to has what they need to succeed. That means knowing their skillset and providing opportunities for them to learn relevant new skills.
The best way to accomplish this is to have regular one-on-one meetings. Ask the employee what their career goals are, what they enjoy working on, and if there is anything outside the normal scope of work they’d like to try.
Take into consideration their strengths so you can cultivate high-performance teams to match your unique workflow. It’s a lot easier when you can work from a single view to see strengths and weaknesses play out across your team.
Do they have management skills they can leverage to manage one or two other people on the team? Do they have technical skills that can help your development team?
This is why the ClickUp Skills Mapping Template is so handy for logging detailed information about your team, external members or freelancers, and other assets that could alter your ideal workflow. Whatever their strengths, be sure to consider them alongside the employee’s interests when delegating work. 🏋️
4. Create priorities
Effective leaders know how to prioritize work and how important it is to be able to distinguish which tasks need to be completed first to avoid delaying a project. For delegating tasks, it’s critical to communicate clearly which items need to be addressed first.
That way the team member knows where to start and has a road map for what comes next.
This step is so important, it’s one of the main reasons teams use ClickUp’s Priority Matrix template. Start by listing all tasks that need to be completed. Assess how important each one is and which ones are urgent.
Plug them into the priority matrix and use it to visually organize what has priority. Team members can use this as a reference for what work they need to focus on first and they can quickly see what’s coming next.
5. Offer context and background
Your work is more successful when you understand the role it plays in meeting the company’s goals. The same goes for team members you delegate tasks to.
Help them understand how the task or project they are working on fits into the big picture as well as the desired outcome you’re wanting. If they understand how they contribute to the team and feel like an important piece of the puzzle, they’ll be more likely to want to succeed.
Context also helps your team member fully understand the purpose of the task. While you might be a pro at these tasks, they are new to your co-worker. Offer to walk them through the task or create a video showing how you do it.
That way, you can feel confident handing off the tasks and knowing your team member has the information they need to complete the work successfully.
It also helps to provide information on the organizational structure of the project. A tool like the RACI matrices from ClickUp can give the team member insight into project roles, deliverables, and who to turn to if any issues arise. 📝
If you want to cultivate high-performing teams, you need a structure to help them tackle tasks (and address the time-consuming tasks) so both you and your team know exactly what’s expected. Delegating effectively helps everyone know the task at hand.
6. Provide support where it’s needed
As a project manager or team leader, you should provide support to your team throughout the project, not just at the beginning when you’re providing context. This can mean offering training if there are skills they need to develop in order to succeed.
It can also mean providing support in terms of resources—like task management software—financial backing, or connecting them to experts who can support their work.
7. Prioritize results over the process
Just because the team member completes the task differently from how you would do it doesn’t mean they didn’t do a good job. Focus on the end result rather than how they got there. All of us learn and work differently, so be open-minded when reviewing the work you’ve delegated.
At the end of the day, good work and results are what should matter. 🏆
8. Focus on autonomy but check-in
It’s wonderful to trust the people you work with to do their jobs and get things done on time. But that doesn’t mean you should take a totally hands-off approach. Give your team members space and time to get the work done, but schedule regular check-ins.
Discuss how often you want to check in with members of your team. It should be a balance between not micromanaging, but still doing regular reviews.
Many managers choose to meet bimonthly or monthly. Others working on projects with a longer timeline choose to check in quarterly. During these meetings, provide support if they have questions or concerns and offer guidance for seeing the work to completion.
Remember, at the end of the day, you’re responsible for the success of the project. After it’s completed, plan a review where you can go over what worked well and what can be improved. For the next project, you can implement these changes into your workflow management processes.
9. Celebrate wins
As human beings, we like working in a positive environment and seeing our work appreciated and recognized. Celebrate milestones and small wins whenever possible. This boosts morale, creates a fun environment to work in, and offers incentives to do a good job. 🥳
10. Review work and use feedback to inform your process
Successful delegation isn’t just about assigning tasks and seeing them to completion. A key component of delegating is reviewing the process to see what worked and what can be improved. Ask your team members for constructive feedback on the process.
Identify areas where you both succeeded and consider if there is any room for improvement.
Harness the Power of Delegation With ClickUp
Mastering the art of delegation is all about knowing what tasks to delegate, who to assign them to, and how to do it effectively. With these 10 tips, you’re well on your way to implementing successful delegation at all levels of your organization.
Try ClickUp today to handle all your project management processes. From organizing and assigning tasks to creating a priority matrix and using tracking tools to monitor progress, you’ll find what you need in order to be an effective leader. 👩🏽💼