Stepping into a new management role can be daunting. It can be intimidating getting used to your new team and learning how the group operates. You might feel overwhelmed with your responsibilities and fear that you won't be able to handle your workload. You might feel guilty for asking for help and don't want to appear lazy or ill-equipped.
These feelings are normal for first-time managers. The solution to this problem is to master the art of delegation. No one teaches how to effectively assign tasks or set up a system for project management. However, if you learn the three keys of delegating, you'll develop a successful and productive team.
1. Understand Your Responsibilities
The first step of delegation requires you to have a thorough knowledge of the task at hand. Whether a superior assigns you the project, or you created it on your own, make sure you know what you're up against. If you're not sure of the proper steps to take or don't have solid expectations for results, do some research. Ask a fellow manager or confirm steps with your boss. If you don't know the right direction to take, you'll never reach your destination.
Key Questions to Understand Your Responsibilties
- What is the problem or need? What is the priority of this task compared to others?
- What is the solution? How does my team go about completing it?
- What are the resources needed to complete the task? Are these resources available?
- What is the specific goal of this project? Do I have a defined deadline?
2. Find The Right Person
Not all tasks are created equal. Neither are people. You should have a good gauge of your team's abilities and strengths. Some employees will be better at organization and logistics while others are prone to focus on the tiny details. Some major projects will require a certain of level of experience or skills. Weigh your team's individual talents against the list of requirements for the project. Delegating is a match-making process and your job is to find the perfect pairing.
Key Questions to Find the Right Person
- What skills does this project require? Which employees have these skills?
- Who on the team is available to complete this task? What is he or she already responsible for?
- Who can I trust to get the job done?
3. Assign Specific Tasks
Many projects will require multiple people to complete multiple tasks. It's your job to keep track of all of it. When delegating tasks, be direct and specific. Ensure that your employees understand exactly what is expected of them and the time frame. Spell out if there are limits to budget, resources, tools, etc. Define a clear deadline and set milestones. Use project management tools to monitor progress and keep assignments organized. Effective delegation is a balance of trust and organization.
Key Questions to Assign Specific Tasks
- What are the parameters of each task? Have I communicated all of them?
- How will I measure results? Do my employees understand how I measure?
- How can we all track progress and handle potential conflicts that might arise?
4. Give Honest Feedback
Once the assignment is complete, many new managers will move on to the next task. However, the most important step of effective delegation is to evaluate everyone's performance after the fact. If the process went smoothly, then clearly you did a fine job at delegating! Congratulate your team for a job well done and thank each one for specific contributions. If you or an employee made a mistake, discuss how to improve the process and make adjustments for the future. As you complete more projects, you'll gain more confidence in yourself and your team.
Key Questions to Give Honest Feedback
- What are the results of the completed assignment?
- What went wrong? How did we handle it? How can we improve?
- Who exceeded expectations? Did I give that person credit?
How can you delegate more effectively?