How to be a Master Delegator: 7 Tips for Leaders
Delegating is a vital skill for managers, but if you don’t learn to delegate effectively, you will not only overload your own schedule, max out your capacity, and prioritize the wrong tasks, but your staff will miss out on valuable training and opportunities to grow.
Delegation, like any valuable skill, takes practice and time. Integrating these tips slowly into your leadership style will help you and your staff grow over the course of the new year.
First things first, what is delegation and why do I need it?
Merriam Webster defines delegation as “the act of empowering to act for another” and that truly captures the benefits delegation can bring to you staff.
When you learn to effectively delegate, you will ensure you have time to focus on important activities that require intense dedication of your skill and time, and your staff will learn new skills, grow as professionals, gel better as a team, and increase both their morale and their productivity.
Delegating doesn’t just produce a better work environment – it is also linked to tangible revenue increases. A survey conducted by Gallup found that CEOs who mastered delegation generated 33% greater revenue.
So, we know why we need it – now how do we do it?
Top 7 Tips to become a Master Delegator
- Learn what to delegate
We just spent 5 paragraphs talking about how great delegating is, but even so, not everything can be delegated. Learning what to delegate is step number one. Some tasks require your managerial and strategic expertise, but there are a lot of tasks you can delegate to your team.
Consider handing off:
- Recurring tasks that happen daily, weekly, or monthly
- Tasks that don’t have to be completed in a specific way – allowing for staff creativity and different work styles
- Teachable moments – tasks that would help further your employees’ careers
- Tasks that can be outsourced to third party companies that employee experts in their fields (we’ll talk more about this in #6)
- Anything that aligns with a specific professional goal you know an employee is working towards
- Know your team
Delegating to the right people is vital to the success of each project! Take time to learn the strengths and weaknesses of your team. This will help you select people you know can do the job well, and research shows individuals are more motivated and engaged when they have a high chance of doing a job well.
But you also want to understand the interests of your employees. If there is someone who wants to grow professionally in a certain skill, finding a task in that arena to hand off to them provides a great opportunity for them to grow, and allows you to develop a more well-rounded team. Take time to get to know your direct reports. Ask them what skills they currently have, but also ask them what skills they would like to learn and what areas of your organization interest them the most.
- Guide, don’t micromanage
This is one of the hardest steps for new delegators. Sometimes we convince ourselves that we are the only person on the planet that knows how to accomplish a certain task, and that our method is the only proper method. But, instructing your employee how to accomplish a task step by step and then monitoring each step along the way isn’t empowering, doesn’t save you any time, and doesn’t foster growth. One survey found that employees who felt micromanaged experienced a decrease in morale and productivity.
Instead, make sure they understand the desired goal of the project, the expectations of their work, and appropriate due dates. Check in periodically, have team meetings when appropriate, and make sure your employees have clear and easy lines of communication open with you as they work, but be sure they are allowed flexibility on how they reach the end goal of the project and be open to new ideas when there isn’t a specific protocol or procedure in place.
- Be Patient
Delegating has a lot of benefits, but it won’t be an instant fix. As your team members tackle tasks they have never handled before, they will have lots of questions. Prepare to take time to answer those questions and understand that tasks that normally take you 15 minutes might take 30 minutes as they learn new skills and procedures. Allow them time to master their new tasks and hone their time management skills without expecting perfection immediately.
- Give your team the resources to succeed
Make sure your employees have the practical tools they need to succeed. This means they need access to documents, procedures, and historical data on their new project, as well as clear metrics for measuring success, and expected timelines. Giving them the resources needed to succeed might also mean investing in training. If a staff member requires training to complete a specific task, it may be tempting to write them off and take over the task yourself, but training is an investment in your team, and can encourage employee retention.
- Outsource when needed
Sometimes, your team just doesn’t have a certain ultra-specific skillset, and the training is either too time-intensive or out of the question budget-wise. When you face a task like that, outsourcing can be a great option. Learning to recognize tasks you need done but cannot provide training for allows you to identify prime areas for outsourcing. IT and Medical Billing are great areas to explore outsourcing as a resource.
But the rules of master delegators still apply! Make sure you get to know your outsourcing company well, have access to your outsourced team, and identify a company that has the skills you need to get the job done better than anyone on your current team. If you’re interested in outsourcing your medical billing, send Practice Management a message here – we’d love to get to know you and see if we’re a good fit!
- Share the spotlight
Taking all the credit for a task you delegated out is a great way to tank your team morale. Thanking team members that successfully complete new tasks not only makes your employees feel good, but also increases their engagement leading to more productivity and job satisfaction.
Prioritizing delegation in 2023 can lead to one of your best years ever by freeing up your time for high-level projects, empowering your team, and boosting productivity across the board!