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  • Writer's pictureKim Catania

5 Keys to Effective Delegation

Updated: May 7, 2019

If you want something done right, do it yourself, right? Not always.

True as it may sound, no one can handle everything. For most leaders, there are just way too many balls to juggle. Even so, some of us resist delegating.


Our reasons for not delegating are many …

… it’ll take too long to explain

… I can’t trust anyone to do it right

… past attempts have failed

… it takes too much time to delegate

… and so on …

But these are myths.


Delegation is an essential skill for great leadership.

Leaders can make themselves and their team more effective when they know what to delegate, and when. Once you’ve decided to delegate a task, remember: How you delegate is just as important as what you delegate.


Consider these Five Keys to Effective Delegation:


  1. Clearly communicate where your team member needs to be but stop short of telling him how to get there.

  2. Let your employee choose the best way to complete the task and engender ownership and pride.

  3. Keep an eye on progress. Set deadlines and clear expectations, then get out of the way.

  4. Give latitude. You never know what people will excel at if they don’t have the chance to try it their way.

  5. Delegate generously. Don’t have a single ‘go-to’ person. Base assignments on both capability and stretch.


Bonus: Offer the way out. Add this phrase to the end of your request: “If you can’t do it, I’ll understand.” This little phrase technically gives employees an escape route, so they are less likely to feel upset about having the work put upon them. At the same time, the wording makes it difficult to flat out refuse, so most will only pass if they have a very legitimate reason.


Giving up responsibility is a necessary part of leadership.

 

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