Learning how to manage people isn’t easy, nor is learning how to delegate, especially for those who prefer the hands-on approach such as entrepreneurs and self-guided learners. However, both are crucial skills to acquire for any executive hoping to succeed in business today – and, luckily, both can be gained with a little bit of persistence and hard work. The following hints, tips, and insights can not only help you discover how to achieve more with less, but also how to effectively assign tasks so that you can multiply productivity, output, and success by several orders of magnitude. Here are 10 pieces of advice that can help you when it comes to managing, and determining how to delegate work – and 10 ways to be a better strategist and team player by employing them.
PAINT A BIGGER PICTURE — Always start with a brief explanation of the project or goal at hand so the person helping knows what they are contributing – and how they can best contribute to the cause. For example, “We are pitching a big client and need you to give us a clearer picture on this brand competitor: We’re looking for a research report on specific strengths and weaknesses of theirs, and strategies we can use to siphon market share from their competing products.”
BE CLEAR — Make sure you can explain what the task entails doing, even if you need others to figure out the specifics on how to best achieve these goals.It helps to provide specific references of where they can find information, tools, or resources, and examples of precisely what you’d like end output to look like.
PROVIDE THE TOOLS — As you’d set out the ingredients for a recipe, do the same for your teammate when serving up the resources needed to get a job accomplished. Make sure they have all the need in terms of leads or a budget to get it done.
LET THEM DRIVE — Focus on doing all the work you can on your end and let your team take care of getting you where you need to go. Think of this analogy: “I get more work done when I ride the train, instead of driving my car.”
DON’T TELL, TEACH — You have a specific way of working. Other people may have their own methods and ideas. If they run into issues, make sure to offer your assistance but don’t take ownership of the task back on yourself. No one will learn anything, nor will you save time, if you insist of retaking control and doing everything yourself.
BE AWARE OF TIME — Think about how long a project should take and understand others’ schedules and what else is being asked of them (effective time management is an essential skill when learning how to be better at delegating). Consider whether others have the proper bandwidth to handle tasks, and how to best right-size what you’re asking of them to make sure it’s doable in the timeline provided.
ASAP IS THE ENEMY— Telling people you need something “right away” is never helpful. You can shift it to, “This project is truly urgent. Could you make it a priority to have it done by the end of the day today?”
STOP, COLLABORATE AND LISTEN— Vanilla Ice had some good advice. When you get stuck, even with your piece of a project, crowd-sourcing new ideas can give you a fresh lens to help you see the project in a new light. Not everything has to be on you.
REVIEW AND CONSIDER — When you do get the work from your colleagues, take note of what they absolutely nailed and what aspects of the job they still need to work on. Maybe they are great creatively, but not great at following processes and procedures. Think on what you learn when you give feedback or assign future tasks.
BE GRATEFUL — Be a boss who is aware how earned praise can motivate a team and push everyone forward. It never hurts to recognize others, and say thank you. In fact, it can make all the difference. Don’t be afraid to give praise and support others where possible – it will help encourage and motivate them to give the job their best, and like you, be a more effective leader and team player.
If there is a work problem, you’ll solve it. But you’ll need to get your team involved to achieve lasting success. Use the following tips to learn more about how be better at delegating:
Victoria Cairl writes about women and work. She's is the VP of Business Development at Show-Score.com, having previously worked at Lincoln Center, The Met Museum and Disney Theatrical. She is a mentor, feminist and an entrepreneur based in New York City.