Deciding How to Assign & Delegate Tasks

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Delegation is an essential part of management and can increase you and your team's productivity. This lesson reviews some of the key factors that should be used when deciding how to effectively delegate tasks.

Delegation Defined

The ability to effectively delegate tasks is an essential skill that all successful managers must possess. Think about a time when you needed to complete a project and had a million things to do. How did you get things done? Likely, it was with the help of others.

When the workload is shared by assigning another person the responsibility of performing a certain task, this is referred to as delegation. In the workplace, usually, managers will delegate tasks to members of their team. And if done properly, it can maximize everyone's time and skills plus provide opportunities for team growth and development. As you will see, delegation is not as easy as it sounds and importantly, you should not delegate anything to just anyone. In this lesson, we will discuss some of the key factors you should consider when determining how to delegate tasks.

What to Delegate

Imagine that you are a project manager at Global Teachers, a non-profit organization that brings education to remote communities. Your job is to coordinate the organization's annual fundraising gala. To ensure the successful completion of this project, you'll need to delegate tasks to your team. As there are so many things to do, where should you start?

A good place to begin is identifying exactly what tasks can be delegated. Some key factors to consider are:

1. Can the task be completed by someone else? If the answer is yes, then generally it can be delegated. However, if it is vital that only you complete it or if it relates to your core job function, then it should not be delegated. For instance, as the project manager, it would be fine to delegate marketing and vendor-related activities, but you probably shouldn't delegate approving project timelines, resolving conflicts within your team, or communication with key stakeholders.

2. Do you have time to complete the task, and what is the impact of not finishing the task on time? If you are short on time or if there is a looming deadline, and failure to complete the task could jeopardize the project, it may be worth delegating the task.

3. Is this a routine or repetitive task? If it is, this may be something that you can delegate also. For example, generating weekly status reports on the planning of the fundraising gala may be delegated to the appropriate members of your team.

4. Will the task provide opportunities for your team to develop new skills? If yes, it may be beneficial to delegate the task. For example, if the task is to provide a short presentation about the fundraising gala to new sponsors, this could be assigned to a shy team member to help improve his or her confidence.

5. Is there enough time to delegate the task properly? Importantly, delegation is a process that requires you to set aside sufficient time for training, monitoring progress, and possible re-dos if mistakes occur.

Once you have clearly identified the tasks to be delegated, you'll need to think about who these tasks should be assigned to.

Whom to Delegate

Matching the right person to a task can make a huge difference in the success of your project. As a project manager, understanding your team can help you figure out the best person to get the job done. Here are some key factors for deciding on whom to delegate a specific task to:

1. Knowledge and Skills. The person who you assign the task to should have the competence to complete it. As well, the task shouldn't be too easy; it should challenge and motivate them. For instance, if you need someone to be responsible for marketing, you would probably select a team member who has expertise in public relations.

2. Experience. Complex or critical tasks should be delegated to more experienced team members, whereas simple or less critical tasks should be delegated to those with less experience to help build their skill set and confidence.

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