4 Keys to Effective Delegation

As a supervisor, one of the ways that you get your job done, and manage your time more effectively is to delegate to your employees.  Delegating requires trust in their ability to get the results that you expect.  Here are four keys to making sure you delegate effectively.

  1. Identify the competencies required to accomplish the task.  This sounds simple, but how many times do we actually do a task analysis before making an assignment.  We know the result that we want, but many times we don’t take the time to really determine how we want that result achieved.  Understanding what competencies are needed for success is critical before you can do what comes next.
  2. Assess your employees relative to the task competencies.  An honest comparison of employee skills/competencies against task requirements will help you determine whether you can delegate or whether you need to provide additional support to the employee, including training.
  3. Communicate your expectations clearly.  When giving an assignment, there are 6-points that need to be understood by the employee:  What, Who, When, Where, Why and How.  If you are delegating to an employee who has the requisite competencies, then probably all you will need to communicate is “What result you need”.  If this is a special situation then you will need to communicate those aspects of the task that make this special, e.g., when you need it done.  Going over every detail of “How” is certainly not needed if the person is truly competent in this task and doing so would be seen as “micro-managing” due to lack of trust.
  4. Give appropriate feedback once the task is done.  Feedback is obviously dependent on result, but don’t forget to give positive feedback for success (maybe a simple “thank you”).  If failure occurs, then take the time to determine why so that you can make sure that failure doesn’t occur again.