Steps of Effective Delegation: Examples & Explanation

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  • 0:03 Delegating Example
  • 1:33 Steps of Effective Delegation
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Delegating tasks to employees is an effective tool for business success. In this lesson, you'll learn more about steps to successful delegation, from preparation to accountability, to ensure project success.

Delegating Example

Delegating tasks to employees is an effective tool for business success. In this lesson, you'll learn more about steps to successful delegation - from preparation to accountability - to ensure project success.

Let's say you're slammed at work. Your desk is overflowing with tasks, projects, and assignments with deadlines looming right around the corner. Suddenly, you have a ''lightbulb moment:'' You can delegate some of this work to your competent staff members!

Which of these is the best next step?

A. You rush to put together a meeting with all your employees. You tell each of them what to do, retreat to your office and put your feet up on your desk.

B. You give out assignments and let employees get to work, then change your mind and take the tasks back to do yourself.

C. You prepare tasks, properly matching them to the right employee, make certain everyone understands their job, and then have regular meetings for accountability.

Delegating is assigning tasks or responsibilities to others on your behalf, and it is often easier said than done. Managers cannot simply hand out tasks with no direction or follow-up (like in choice A) or give out assignments and then snatch them right back (like in choice B). That means there must be an effective way to delegate that ensures complete preparation, understanding, and accountability from all parties (like in choice C).

In this lesson, we're going to look at the key steps to effective delegation and examples of each in action.

Steps of Effective Delegation

1. Plan Ahead

Like it or not, there is planning that must happen on your part before you can hand off a task or assignment. Start by identifying the work you need to perform, including the specific goals you have for the work itself. Make a list of the personnel who are available to handle the load. Some people's abilities will line up better with certain projects than others. Think about questions your team members may have pertaining to their assigned task.

Here's an example of step 1 in action: Tabitha is coordinating the annual meeting for her non-profit organization. She identifies the tasks she needs to get done: secure a venue, find entertainment, book a caterer, and hire a keynote speaker. Next, she makes a list of her available helpers - Susan, Nate, Rick and Bethanie - and looks at each person's strengths and weaknesses to begin to delegate the tasks.

2. Delegate

Once you've analyzed your tasks and determined the best person to assign them to, now's the time to delegate. Set up a team meeting or individual meetings (whichever best fits your project). Give employees everything they need to succeed with their delegated task, including:

  • Deadlines
  • Complete Instructions
  • Budget
  • Your expectations (for updates, work quality, accountability, etc.)
  • Full explanation of the task
  • Desired outcome

Now here's an example of step 2 in action with our friend Tabitha again: Tabitha prepares an assignment sheet for each employee and the task they've been assigned with deadline and budget guidelines, a full breakdown of each task, and the goal she has in mind for each assignment.

3. Establish Awareness

There's nothing worse than being given a task and not understanding exactly what is expected of you. As the delegator, it's your responsibility to confirm that each team member has a full awareness about the task and what is expected out of them. You can achieve this through asking employees to repeat back to you the details of their task in their own wording.

Ask questions to gauge understanding. Also, you need to allow employees to ask questions at the time of delegation and throughout the project.

Let's return to Tabitha again to see step 3 in action: Meeting with each member of her team separately, Tabitha is able to talk through each task and confirm that every person is confident in what their piece of the project entails. She allows each person to ask questions at the end of their meeting.

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