Delegating tasks and responsibilities to employees is one of the essential tools for managers. The most apparent benefit is to free themselves from operational issues and to have more time to work on strategic matters. Almost more importantly, however, intelligent delegation is an important contribution to the promotion and motivation of employees. To support you in this, we have compiled the following checklist.
1. Definition of the tasks and responsibilities to be delegated
Get an overview of your current tasks. Think about which of these tasks you want to do yourself and what you want to delegate. The Eisenhower principle can provide a clue to this.
2. Know and use the strengths and preferences of your employees
If someone likes to do something, he will do it well. If possible, involve your employees in the decision-making process and the distribution of task. Even less pleasant tasks can be distributed within the team when the purpose is clear.
3. Trust – a critical success factor for successful delegation
A common problem when delegating is the attitude “I do it best myself” – i.e. a lack of confidence that the tasks will be done well by others. Getting clarity about what you need to do to build this trust in the abilities of others is an essential step in your development as a leader.
4. Agree on clear objectives
One of the most common reasons why managers are not satisfied with the delivered result of a delegated task is an unclear objective. For example, use Coverdale’s Targets to agree on clear goals consisting of purpose, stakeholders, development and success criteria.
5. Separating WHAT and HOW
Once the goal is defined (WHAT to achieve), it is crucial to discuss HOW to accomplish the goal and what resources are available. Here you have the possibility – depending on the competence and experience of the employee – to define different degrees of freedom. A less experienced employee will need more guidance here than an experienced one. For very professional employees, a too narrow definition of how the goal is to be achieved can quickly have a demotivating effect.
6. Defining checkpoints and confirmations
Agree with the employee in what way and how often you expect feedback on the status of the delegated task. Again, the less experience the employee has, the more often you should schedule checkpoints. One thing that should not be missing is a feedback loop when the task is completed – both on the content of the result and on the delegation process.
7. Ensure commitment
Once the WHAT and HOW has been determined, it is advisable to recheck the commitment of the employee and to make sure that the employee has understood everything and is ready to take on the task. Here, for example, the question “What else do you need to be able to complete the task well” has proven to be useful.