Successful Delegating

Have you ever experienced assigning a project to someone and feeling an overwhelming urge to just do it yourself because you think that doing so will produce faster, better and more efficient results?

If so, you were probably experiencing the challenge many of us face with work delegation. If you have OC tendencies, delegating work to someone else can be an issue. Although it would seem easier to do things yourself compared to giving instructions, monitoring the progress and correcting the mistakes of your staff, in the long run, delegating work to others will be necessary to get more things done and to free you up for more critical tasks.

Here are a few tips I’ve learned on how to delegate well:

Explain the goal
Letting your staff know the main goal of the task will give them direction. Explaining WHY things need to be done will help them understand the importance of the task at hand. Take the time to explain your goal so that your team will not run around blindly. Knowing why they are doing what they are supposed to do will make them care more about the work at hand.

Give Clear Instructions
Your leadership style is greatly reflected in how you give instructions. Some bosses just give one-liner guidelines while others give very detailed step by step instructions. Based from my experience, I’ve learned that it is important to keep in mind the capabilities of your staff. Some employees require heavy supervision while others thrive on being left to their own devices. Choose whichever style works best for your staff and don’t forget to verify if they understood the instruction before letting them get on with the work.

Set Deadlines
Giving workable deadlines will allow your staff to manage their time better and know what to prioritize. So establish a deadline with your staff, but it is also prudent to secretly add in some allowance for delays and to correct mistakes. This will save you from a lot of stress and tension.

Track Work Assignments
Work Assignments that are not monitored usually do not get done. It gets forgotten until the need for it arises. Monitoring your staff and following up their progress is a necessary part of delegating. If you are managing only one staff, this is easy. But if you are managing several employees, this could pose as a challenge. Luckily, there are many tools and apps you can now use that allow you to update and access your to-do-lists anywhere anytime.

Require Reports
Many bosses believe that it is their staff’s duty to update them of work progress and yet so many of us have had to follow up our people for updates. Following up can be such a drag for managers. Nobody enjoys being a nag but what can you do to avoid having to constantly follow up several staff? Personally, I require Weekly Reports from my people and strictly keep track of the reports. This allows everyone to document their work progress, but more importantly, it saves me the trouble of having to follow up on things all the time.

Make Room for Error
Not everyone will be able to follow your instructions to the letter. There are times when the results of the delegated work will not be to your liking, so you’ll have to correct or even redo the work yourself. This can be frustrating because of the wasted time, but it nevertheless will happen from time to time. So make room for error. Expect that things will not always result in what you have in mind, so that you won’t stress yourself too much when this happens. Instead, think of it as a chance to improve your communication and delegation skills.

Recognize Good Work
When things go well and your staff does a great job, be sure to recognize his good work. This will allow you to celebrate successful delegation and boost the morale of your team. Saying “thank you” matters a lot. Rewarding your staff is an added bonus. Take the time and effort to recognize people for a job well done and you will notice an increased willingness in taking orders from you. Do this simple thing and you will definitely get more people to love working for you.

Delegating is not just giving orders and expecting people to follow through. Although it requires time, effort and commitment from leaders, it is necessary to get things done. Once you have mastered the skill of delegating, you will find more time and success in your life.

HR Club Philippines and Businessmaker Academy will be holding a seminar on Successful Delegating.  Do attend the seminar to improve your delegating skills.


Note:  This article was originally published at Manila Bulletin Newspaper.

Jhoanna O. Gan-So is president of Businessmaker Academy and HR Club Philippines.  Her organization offers public seminars and in-house training on Human Resource Management and Business Skills Development.   You may email your comments and questions to: