In today’s busy world, one of the best ways to create more time for top-priority projects is to delegate lower-priority work to someone else.

Many people are reluctant or afraid to delegate work. Do any of these statements sound familiar?

  • “Nobody can do this work as well as I can”
  • “If someone else does this better than I can, I’m in trouble”
  • “I haven’t got time to teach someone else how to do it”
  • “I want to be seen as a ‘nice guy,’ not a slave driver”

You’re Part of a Team

Stop with the excuses. In a well-run organization, everyone works together as a team. A team is formed for one purpose: to get the job done successfully. Think of yourself as a member of a team and you’ll have a lot less trouble delegating.

Approach delegating in the following way to effectively get the help you need:

  • Ask for help, don’t demand it
  • Take the time to specifically explain what you’re looking for and teach the delegatee how to fulfill the task correctly
  • Make sure the delegatee has a firm understanding of the work and the expected results
  • Provide all the information and resources the delegatee will need to complete the  project
  • Set a realistic deadline that’s agreeable and workable for both of you
  • Encourage questions and make yourself available for them
  • Ask for periodic progress reports when necessary
  • Don’t assume a person will be able to complete a delegated task without help from you
  • Never delegate a task you aren’t familiar with (and don’t toss a pile of papers on somebody’s desk at 5:00 p.m. and say, “I want this done by tomorrow morning.” This can be grounds for a revolt)
  • Give the delegatee the opportunity to be imaginative and take initiative
  • Pitch in and help if you feel the job is being done poorly or incorrectly
  • Give lots of praise and credit for a job well done

Keep Track of Delegated Work

Just because you’ve delegated a job to someone else doesn’t mean you can forget about it. Write the delegatee’s initials next to the item on your to-do list and enter the deadline you’ve both agreed upon in your calendar.

Don’t cross that job off your list until it’s been successfully completed.

If you’re delegating a part of a larger project, you need to make doubly sure that the work is completed on time — otherwise, the whole project may be delayed.

Delegating is a confidence builder, for both delegatee and delegator. With practice, you’ll gain confidence in your own ability to delegate and in your colleagues’ ability to complete the work. Your colleagues will become more sure of their abilities, and you will both feel the satisfaction of making an important contribution to your  team — and to the success of your company.

By delegating effectively, you’ll save time, which you can spend on other important projects, and you’ll present yourself to colleagues and superiors as an effective time manager and an excellent team player — maybe even captain material.