Improving Your Management Skills, Part 1 of 12: Learn to Delegate

No matter what kind of leader you are, delegating some of your responsibilities is the key to maximizing productivity and preventing burn out. But that’s easier said than done. It’s hard to know which tasks to let go of and which employees you can trust. Sometimes it’s just easier to do things yourself. But if you can learn to delegate effectively, you’ll lighten your workload and train your staff to learn new skills. Here’s how you can improve your management skills and increase your efficiency by learning to delegate.


Learn to let go


Many bosses are hesitant to relinquish control, afraid that no one will meet their expectations or that asking for help makes them seem weak. But you need to let go of that sentiment. Start delegating with small tasks and gradually start assigning bigger and bigger responsibilities. You’ll learn that you can trust your employees to hand in quality work and they’ll become more comfortable doing so.


Designate skill levels


As you prioritize your tasks, label each one with a skill level—high-skilled, low-skilled and moderately-skilled. That way you can quickly and easily determine which of your employees will be charged with each task, matching experience and training to the appropriate level of skill needed.


Use your worker’s strengths


Your employees each have individual strengths and weaknesses, so take that into consideration when you’re assigning tasks. If you want it done right, you don’t necessarily care about who has the lightest workload at that given moment—trust it to someone who will do a good job.


Give goals and direction


When you’re assigning a task, make it clear to your employee how each piece contributes to the long-term goals and overall success of the company. When people understand the importance of their work, they’re more likely to take it seriously and do it well. And include details about each assignment. Be clear about the deadline and your expectations for the outcome.


Empower them with new skills


If you don’t have someone on your team who doesn’t possess the necessary skills for a given task, then teach someone! Consider it an investment since that employee will be able to do similar tasks again and again.


Trust but verify


Micromanagement is dangerous and can actually demotivate your employees, so allow them to complete tasks on their own terms. If you have certain requirements about a project, communicate those at the beginning. Check in occasionally to make sure everything’s on track, but you don’t need to look over their shoulder every step of the way.


Use feedback to improve


Finally, reward your employees with praise and appreciation. If they were unsuccessful, provide constructive criticism. And allow them the opportunity to ask questions and offer feedback on you, too. It’s a great way to improve!

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