Back To CourseEstablishing Team Responsibilities as a Leader
2 chapters | 8 lessons
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Sherri has taught college business and communication courses. She also holds three degrees including communications, business, educational leadership/technology.
Perhaps one of the most important tasks any team leader will need to tackle is assigning responsibilities to individual team members. These responsibilities not only need to work towards the larger group goal, but they also need to align with the individual's strengths. Even better, the delegated tasks will offer the team member an opportunity for learning and growth. Delegation requires the leader to turn the right tasks over to the correct people, at the right time, with the necessary resources, skills, and authority to complete the job effectively. Of course, delegation also involves setting performance measures, monitoring progress, and providing feedback to team members. It is no wonder why so many people are hesitant to delegate tasks because it requires a great deal of effort upfront and throughout a project's lifecycle. However, when done correctly, delegation can result in the effective and timely completion of a significant amount of work.
If you are a perfectionist, someone who likes to be in control of your work, concerned you will leave yourself vulnerable for the failures of your team members, unsure of how or who to delegate tasks to, worried you might overwork your employees, or someone who simply enjoys doing the work yourself, it can be extremely hard for you to delegate work tasks to others. As challenging as it may be, it is your job as a leader to let go of these apprehensions and do what is best for the organization, the team, and even you. Here are some ways in which each of these areas can benefit from delegation:
It benefits the bottom line.
When an organization accomplishes more through its workforce, it directly affects its bottom line. Delegation can help an organization with succession planning allowing it to run like a well-oiled machine keeping work in a state of continuous motion.
It positively impacts employee performance.
An employee who is offered challenging work, while being provided an opportunity for growth and skill development, is often a motivated, satisfied, and loyal employee. Empowering a team member through delegation helps the employee find their worth within the organization, and this can be a powerful motivational tool. Likewise, it can help to build trust between a leader and his or her subordinates, which can help to strengthen the working relationship between the two.
It allows the leader to focus on more important tasks.
By delegating tasks, a leader will increase his or her time to spend strategizing and developing new ideas and opportunities for organizational growth. After all, a leader's role in an organization is to inspire, innovate, and advance the organization and its members.
Now that you understand the importance of delegating and some of its benefits, let's take a look at how and when to delegate. To help us with this we are going to stop at Protect Your Gadget, Inc. where Paul and his team are getting ready to launch a new product from their cell phone cover line.
Paul and his team have been tasked with the job of creating a television marketing campaign for the new product. Because this project will require a good amount of time and specialization, Paul knows he needs to assign responsibilities to his team members and delegate specific tasks. There are several steps in the delegation process, including:
1. Outline each task that needs to be completed and provide a clear description of that task. Describing a task includes:
Paul decides that there are five essential tasks which need to be completed: researching the target market, managing the advertising budget, selecting the message's delivery channel and time, creating the message, and evaluating the marketing campaign results.
2. Assess which tasks should be completed by the leader and which tasks should be delegated. For example: tasks that do not require a leader's expertise; tasks that would take more time than the leader has to give; tasks that would involve skills the leader has mastered but that another team member could benefit from learning; tasks that a specific team member is more specialized in; or tasks that a team member has a particular interest in. Because Paul is busy with other leader roles, he can decided to delegate all five tasks out to his team. Likewise, Paul has worked with this team in the past on similar projects and has full faith in them to effectively execute their assigned responsibilities.
3. Assign tasks to individual team members. When assigning tasks, a leader wants to be sure to match employees with work that the individual is capable of accomplishing given the right expectations, resources, and time. Leaders also want to challenge their employees so assigning a task that allows a team member the opportunity to learn and grow is another good strategy to take when delegating work. Alternatively, a great avenue to consider, especially when having an employee work on something new, is to ask team members to collaborate on certain parts of the project. Collaboration allows employees to share ideas, knowledge, and resources, making the team a more effective unit.
Finally, it is important to award the employee the necessary amount of authority he or she will need in order to make decisions and carry out their assigned task. Be sure to make it clear to the employees exactly what level of authority you are awarding them.
Paul takes time assigning each task to an individual team member. He knows Maria has an extensive background in researching and assessing target market. Samantha has a background in finance and has successfully managed budgets in the past. Jose is great at choosing media channels and time. Martin is especially creative and is strong in message development. And as a leader, Paul would normally take care of the evaluation of the campaign but wants to use this project as an opportunity to challenge his assistant Ryan and provide him with a chance to work on his leadership skills. So, he decides to assign that task to Ryan. Because the target market research will be needed to properly select the right media channel and time, Paul asks Maria and Jose to collaborate with each other throughout the project.
4. Set performance expectations and measurement guidelines. In order for a team member to be successful, he or she must know what is expected of them and how their performance will be measured. The leader and team member should agree on these expectations, milestones, and final performance measurements. Leaders ought to spend time expressing confidence in the employee and offer help and guidance as needed. Paul sits down with each of his team members to go over the details of their expectations and how they will be assessed. Because this is also a team project, Paul is careful to differentiate between the individual goals of each team member from the assessment of the entire team's performance.
5. Provide feedback to employees. The final step in delegation is for the leader to provide employees with feedback. Delegation does not mean a leader wipes his or her hands free of work, rather it is an exchange for other tasks, such as managing, coaching, and appraising a team member's progress. Providing feedback as part of these processes is an important factor in the success of the team, you as a leader, and the organization. Paul sets up meetings regularly with his team members to discuss their progress, challenges, successes, as well as to solicit feedback from them as to how the project is going and could be improved. Such meetings help to keep the project moving forward and productively levels at their highest.
Let's review. Delegation requires the leader to turn the right tasks over to the correct people at the right time with the necessary resources, skills, and authority to complete the job effectively. Employees, leaders, and organizations as a whole benefit from work delegation. The process of delegation includes five steps:
When done correctly, delegating work to others is a powerful tool in employee motivation and satisfaction, allowing leaders to focus on more important tasks aimed at organizational growth and development, and it is also useful in increasing a company's level of productivity.
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Back To CourseEstablishing Team Responsibilities as a Leader
2 chapters | 8 lessons