How to Delegate the Right Tasks to the Right People: Effective Management Skills for Leadership Success

Learning how to delegate effectively is the key to leveraging yourself and multiplying your value to your company. Delegation allows you to move from what you can do personally to what you can manage.

What Does Delegate Mean?

The verb “to delegate” means to assign the responsibility for doing something, such as a task or project, to another individual. Delegating common time-consuming tasks to lower-level employees or contractors is a common practice among efficient entrepreneurs, business owners, and managers as it allows them to focus on more impactful tasks that require their full attention.

Why is Delegating Tasks Important?

Delegation is one of the most important and effective management skills. Without the ability to delegate effectively, it is impossible for you to advance in management to higher positions of responsibility.

Develop Your Management Skills

Learning how to delegate is not only about maximizing your own productivity and value; it is also about maximizing the productivity of your staff. Your job as a manager is to get the highest return on the company’s investment in people.

The average person today is working at 50 percent of capacity. With effective management and delegation skills, you can tap into that unused 50-percent potential to increase your staff’s productivity.

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Your job as a manager is to develop people. Delegation is the means by which you bring out the very best in the people that you have.

The first step in learning how to delegate is to think through the job. Decide exactly what is to be done. What result do you want?

The second step in delegation is to set performance standards. How will you measure to determine whether the job has been done properly or not?

The third step is to determine a schedule and a deadline for getting the job done.

Effective Management through Task-Relevant Maturity

The task-relevant maturity of your staff—how long they have been on the job and how competent they are—determines your method of delegation.

Low task-relevant maturity means they are new and inexperienced in the job. In this case, use a directive delegation style. Tell people exactly what you want them to do.

Medium task-relevant maturity means staff has experience in the job; they know what they are doing. In this case, use the effective, management by objectives delegation method. Tell people the end result that you want and then get out of their way and let them do it.

High task-relevant maturity is when the staff person is completely experienced and competent. Your method of delegation in this case is simply, easy interaction.

How to Delegate the Right Tasks to the Right People

There are seven essentials for effective management and delegation:

1. Pick the right person. Picking the wrong person for a key task is a major reason for failure.

2. Match the requirements of the job to the abilities of the person. Be sure that the person you delegate the task to is capable of doing the job.

3. Delegate effectively to the right person. This frees you to do more things of higher value. The more of your essential tasks that you can teach and delegate to others, the greater the time you will have to do the things that only you can do.

4. Delegate smaller tasks to newer staff to build their confidence and competence.

5. Delegate the entire job. One hundred percent responsibility for a task is a major performance motivator. The more often you assign responsibilities to the right people, the more competent they become.

6. Delegate clear outcomes. Make them measurable. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Explain what is to be done, how you think it should be done, and the reasons for doing this job in the first place.

7. Delegate with participation and discussion. Invite questions and be open to suggestions. There is a direct relationship between how much people are invited to talk about the job and how much they understand it, accept it, and become committed to it. You need to delegate in such a way that people walk away feeling, ‘‘This is my job; I own it.’’

Delegate authority over the resources staff will need to fulfill the responsibility. Be clear about the time they have, the money they can spend, and the people they can call on to help them to do the job.

Practice management by exception when you delegate. Set clear goals, standards, and deadlines for the delegated task. A job without a deadline is merely a discussion. Then tell people to come back to you only if they have a problem. If they are on schedule and on budget, they do not need to report. You can assume that they have the job under control.

The key to growing your people is learning how to delegate and develop your effective leadership skills. When you learn how to delegate effectively with a few staff members, you will soon be given more people to delegate to, plus greater responsibilities, as a result of your delegation and effective management skills.

All managers with outstanding management skills are excellent delegators. The ability to delegate is one of the top leadership qualities of great leaders. In old-school thinking, people used to say that, ‘‘If you want the job done right, you have to do it yourself.’’

In new-school thinking, however, the correct statement is, ‘‘If you want the job done right, you have to learn how to delegate it properly so that it can be done to the proper standard’’ @BrianTracy Tweet Thistweet-graphic-trans

Thank you for reading this post on how to delegate the right tasks to the right people. If you have any other tips on how to develop effective management skills to lead your team to success, please feel free to comment and share below!

If you want to know how to effectively lead your business and team to success, click the button below to download my free Leadership Questionnaire. Discover your areas of strength and how to leverage them to increase the success of your team.

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The 6 Steps to Effective Delegation

To achieve everything you are capable of achieving, and to be able to concentrate on those few tasks that can make the greatest contribution to your life and work, you must become excellent at delegation. Whether you are a boss or an employee, it is a universal key to success. You must be continually seeking ways to outsource, delegate and get other people to do things that pay you a lower hourly rate than you desire to earn.

There are several ways that you can become more effective at delegating and outsourcing, or hiring other people to do parts of your work so that you can do the parts of your job that pay the most.

When Should You Delegate Tasks?

In order for delegated tasks to be effective, you should first consider these questions:

1. Instead of You?

Ask the question, “Who can do this job instead of you?” Remember, you have to delegate everything possible in order to have enough time to do those few things that are most important.

2. Better than You?

You should ask, “Who can do this job better than me?” One of the characteristics of effective managers and successful leaders is that they have the ability to find people who are superior to them in specific tasks. You should continually be looking for people who can do certain parts of your work better than you.

3. At a Lower Cost?

Evaluate the job and ask, “Who can do this job at a lower cost than me?” Many companies and individuals are finding that they can outsource major parts of their operations to companies who specialize in that area. Companies that specialize in a particular function can usually do the job cheaper and faster than a company that does that work as part of its other activities.

4. Can It Be Eliminated?

Ask yourself and others, “Can this activity be eliminated altogether?” What would happen if the job were not done at all? Many of the routinized tasks and activities in a company or business could be quite easily eliminated with no loss of productivity and great increases of ineffectiveness.

It is amazing how many activities go on in business and private life that could be quite easily discontinued completely, with no loss or inconvenience to anyone. Rooting out these opportunities for increased efficiency can dramatically increase sales and profitability for an organization or department.

Follow These Six Steps to Effectively Delegate Tasks

To delegate effectively in your work with others, there are six steps that you can take. If you neglect any one of these steps, you run the risk of miscommunication, misunderstandings, demoralization and poor performance.

1. Match the Person to the Job

Match the person to the job. One of the great time wasters in the world of work is delegating the task to the wrong person. Often the task is delegated to a person who is not capable of doing it properly or getting it done on schedule.

The only accurate predictor of future performance is past performance. The rule is that you never delegate an important task to a person who has not performed that task satisfactorily in the past. It is unfair to expect a person who has not done a job before to perform at a sufficient level of quality when they are given the job for the first time.

2. Agree on what is to be Done

Once you have selected the right person for the job, take the time discuss the job with that person and agree upon what must be done. The more time you take to discuss and agree upon the end result or objective, and achieve absolute clarity, the faster the job will be done once the person starts on it.

3. Explain How the Job Should Be Done

Explain to the person your preferred approach or method of working. Explain how you would like to see the job done, and how you or someone else has done it successfully in the past.

4. Have Him Feed It Back

Ask the person to feed your instructions back to you in his or her own words. Have him or her explain to you what you have just explained and agreed upon. This is the only way that you can be sure that the other person actually understands the job or assignment that they have been delegated to accomplish.

5. Set a Deadline

Set a deadline and a schedule for completion of the task. At the same time, arrange for regular reporting and for periodic inspection. Invite feedback and questions if there are any delays or problems.

6. Manage By Exception

Manage by exception whenever possible. Managing by exception is a powerful time management tool that you can use to work more efficiently with other people.

If the job is on track, and on schedule, managing by exception means that the person does not have to report back to you. If you don’t hear from him, you can assume that everything is going well. The individual only has to report back to you when an exception occurs and there is a problem with getting the job done on time, to the agreed upon level of quality.


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About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.

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