Four Tips for Delegating Work to Others

Last Updated Mar 12, 2009 12:31 AM EDT

No matter who you are or where you are on the corporate ladder, you probably have some opportunities to delegate. Nonetheless, you might choose to do it all yourself, either because you're intimidated by the thought of delegating or there's a deceptive sense of satisfaction at doing the work yourself. In the end, though, not delegating is like a slow death; you overwhelm yourself with menial tasks that keep you from doing more important work, and you don't give others the opportunity to grow. Knowing how to delegate is one of the most important skills you can cultivate.
Dumb Little Man has assembled four key tips for would-be delegators. Here are, in my opinion, the most important ones:
  • Clarify the procedures. You can't hand off key tasks until you document how they're done. You should capture all the steps needed to do these things in writing. After all, it can even help you, since you won't have to retrain yourself every time you need to do one of these tasks.
  • Train others. Invest the time to train your co-workers on how to do the job, and shadow their efforts the first time or two they try it on their own. And be sure you really give them responsibility -- tell everyone else they're the contact for these tasks now.
  • Detect and avoid busy work. Yes, by definition, everything ou do at work must get done. But that doesn't mean you need to do it yourself. If it's a job that can be done by anyone or is a task that makes you feel productive but has little impact on your overall job commitments, goals, or objectives, then delegate that thing; it's just slowing you down. It's that simple.
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