Delegating tasks can be a difficult decision for any business leader. After all, delegating responsibility means giving up some of your own control over the task and trusting another with it. However, delegation is a powerful tool for improving employee performance and team engagement—a worthwhile outcome that outweighs any perceived risks or losses of control. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how effective delegation leads to better employees and improved efficiency in the workplace.
Know Their Skills and Capabilities
First evaluate the employee you want to develop through delegation. Use a skills matrix such as the one outlined in “Why You Should Cross Train Employees” to rank their proficiency in a variety of soft skills and technical skills. This will give you a clear idea where the employee needs development.
You want the delegated task to not only improve on or give them a new skill, but to push their capabilities. Sometimes even rising stars grow comfortable in their position and do want to push beyond their current comfort level. Delegating a task to them that will force them to stretch their abilities will give them confidence to move outside of their comfort zone.
Make The Task a Stretch
The goal is to improve your employee so you want to give them a task that will stretch their capabilities. It should be something that will challenge them and force them to learn a new skill or further develop one they need to improve on. You want to give them a task that will help push them to the next level.
Your employees with a high degree of technical skills may lack good soft skills such as communications or interpersonal skills. If so give them the task of preparing and giving a presentation at a meeting. Look at your tasks and see which ones will help develop their skills. If you do not have a task to fit the need create one such as developing a new strategy for dealing with a particular issue.
An important communications skill for any manager is “How to Be Specific” when communicating your expectations to the employee. When you give an employee a challenging task it is important that you clearly communicate to them what the task is and that you are very specific on the expectations.
- What it is they are supposed to do
- How they should do it
- What are the expected results
- When should the task be completed
- Designate specific times when you will meet to follow-up on their progress
Provide Support and Time
Time is a resource and if you want to delegate to improve an employee you must give them time to do the task. Don’t pile on more workload, instead take a task they do now and delegate it down to another employee who will benefit from that task.
The employee needs to know you are there to support them. From the very first meeting make sure they know they have your support. That if they have any questions your door is always open. Follow-up often to be sure they are on track. Along the way give them a shot of support by offering encouragement and showing your confidence in their ability.
Take advantage of status updates and follow-up meetings to fine tune their training. You may spot a need for improvement in another area that you did not find in their skills assessment. Either note it for future development or include it in this development task.
Take Your Rising Stars To The Next Level
Using delegation as a method of training and development is only one way to push your rising stars to the next level. Use the skills assessment to develop a training plan for their improvement. Sit down with them and explain to them how to develop a career plan and why they need to do it. Then help them to reach their career development goals.
While you want to concentrate your development efforts on your rising stars don’t forget about your diamonds in the rough. Your employees who with the proper coaching, training and skills development could also become rising stars.
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