Delegating work is one of the secrets to a productive workplace. Not only does effective delegation keep your own workload under control, it shows the members of your team that you trust them to do their jobs well. Improving your task delegation skills can help you become a better manager and increase your team's productivity levels.
But what does it mean to delegate tasks and how can you learn the art of delegation without micromanaging or overworking your employees? Here are some of the main benefits of delegations, as well as how to use task management software to ensure your team members complete tasks successfully.
What Does Delegating Tasks Mean?
What is the meaning of “delegating tasks”? At first glance, it might sound like the same thing as “assigning tasks,” but there’s a key difference. Delegating involves entrusting your employees with responsibilities that align with their skill sets — not simply telling them what to do and watching over their shoulder while they do it.
To delegate work effectively, you’ll need to understand your employee’s strengths and weaknesses and have a system in place to streamline the delegation process.
You may also need to overcome feelings such as anxiety at giving up control or guilt at adding tasks to someone’s to-do list. Feeling emotionally attached to a specific project or experiencing imposter syndrome can also get in the way of successful delegation.
Benefits of Task Delegation
Getting comfortable with task delegation can take time but it’s one of the secrets to being a good manager. Here are three ways that delegating tasks and honing your leadership skills can make a difference in the workplace.
Imagine if you insisted on doing everything yourself. You’d quickly feel overwhelmed at work, and your co-workers would be sitting around with nothing to do. Even the most controlling managers have to delegate some responsibilities to their team.
By delegating the right tasks to your team members, you’ll have less on your plate and more time to devote to higher-level problem-solving and decision-making.
Plays to Team Strengths
Your team consists of multiple people for a reason: not just to distribute the workload, but because everyone brings a different skill set to the table. Task delegation means assigning specific tasks to each employee based on their skills and experience.
If someone on your team already knows how to use a particular piece of software, delegate the task to them rather than having to learn new skills yourself.
Builds Trust and Teamwork
Delegating tasks to your team members shows that you trust them to do good work. The first time you delegate a task, it can be a leap of faith for both parties. But as you become more confident in your team — and your own leadership skills — you’ll learn how to delegate tasks more efficiently to achieve the desired outcome.
How to Delegate Tasks in 5 Easy Steps
Whether you’re implementing a new project management framework or just want to improve the day-to-day operations of your business, here’s how to implement a task delegation system so your team can get more done in less time.
1. Assess Capacity
First, determine what your team is capable of. The last thing you want is a team that’s understaffed and overworked. Assess your employees’ strengths, review their current workload, and check in with them about their capacity before delegating tasks.
Ensure that any tasks you delegate are appropriate to their job description, and avoid assigning new tasks all at once to avoid incidents of burnout.
2. Provide Instructions
Whenever you assign a task, give clear instructions, even if it’s a task you’ve assigned before. Include links to any documentation the employee needs to complete the task. Delegating vague or unclear tasks can result in more work on your end.
For big projects, break tasks down into smaller components so they’re easier to keep track of and can be described or even delegated individually.
3. Set Realistic Deadlines
Learning a new task takes time, so understand that other members of your team may need more time than you do to complete tasks that are easy for you. Give employees realistic deadlines and provide them with ample notice before assigning tasks.
Don’t avoid delegation because you know you can get the job done faster; eventually, your co-workers will learn how to better incorporate the task into their workflow.
4. Offer Help or Training
Just because you’ve delegated a task to someone else doesn’t mean it isn’t still your responsibility to ensure it gets done. Let your team members know they can come to you for help, and provide training or additional resources if required.
Task delegation can also be an opportunity for professional development and career advancement when a new responsibility aligns with an employee’s personal goals.
5. Follow Up as Necessary
Finally, review the task once it’s complete and offer constructive feedback. For larger projects, you can give a formal performance review. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback in return to learn how you could have delegated more effectively.
Either way, if the task was completed successfully, acknowledge it at your next team meeting. Everyone appreciates recognition for a job well done.
3 Tips for Task Delegation
These five steps will get you most of the way toward effective task delegation. But to truly level up your management skills, follow these additional tips.
One of the biggest mistakes that managers make when delegating tasks is failing to delegate authority along with it. This could look like the authority to make a decision about a project or the authority to delegate subtasks to other team members.
If you don’t delegate appropriate authority, your direct report will have to keep coming back to you to sign off on everything. Not only does this demonstrate a lack of trust in your employee, but it will also result in a more time-consuming process.
Use a Task Management Platform
When delegating tasks, use a task management platform to keep track of everything in a central location. Action item trackers and other collaboration tools give team members visibility into which other tasks need to be completed alongside theirs, and allow you to track the progress of individual tasks as well as overall task completion metrics.
Plus, you can improve your time management skills by using Gantt charts, calendars, and other built-in tools to track deadlines and monitor the scope of a project.
Don’t Just Delegate — Automate
Delegating tasks to other team members can take tedious, time-consuming tasks off of your to-do list. But some tasks don’t need to be completed by a human at all. You can use task automation to perform repetitive tasks such as scheduling and data entry.
Automated note-taking tools like Anchor AI can write meeting summaries, identify action items, and even delegate tasks for you. Simply invite Anchor AI to your next virtual meeting and walk away with an actionable to-do list.
Delegate Tasks With Anchor AI
For some managers, to delegate a task means to provide clear instructions and allow your direct report to do the rest. For others, it means using an automated note-taking tool or action item tracker to delegate tasks for you. Either way, it’s important to give your team members the right tools and training to complete tasks successfully.
Anchor AI streamlines task delegation with our AI-powered task manager. Invite Anchor AI to your virtual meeting or upload a recording, and Anchor AI will do the rest. Whether you need a complete transcription or a meeting summary with action items, Anchor AI helps you turn team meetings into an actionable plan.
Sign up today to try out AI-powered task delegation yourself!