Delegation literally means outsourcing. No one is an expert in everything. Your expertise is specific and it cannot be spread everywhere. In other words, you cannot be a jack of all trades.
Even though you can display interest in learning new things, life does not allow you to always learn. You have time constraints.
You need to produce to make everyone happy. So here comes delegation at your service. And, it is an important part of effective time management.
When you are designing a magazine cover, the idea or the layout can be yours. But starting from putting your idea in the paper (or a chart) in the draft form to making it a posh, glossy, colourful and beautiful magazine cover, there is a lot of different aspects involved and you cannot deal with all of them; if you choose to deal with all of them, this will be the last thing you are designing.
So you either have a team allocated to you, or you find one for yourself. You delegate different tasks to different people. Someone draws the draft out; someone else prints it for you, someone else sends it for approval, someone else takes care of the to and from of the printing process, someone else compiles everything together- see I can go on writing and there are essentially so many steps from the idea coming out of your mind to the idea getting its final shape.
You can choose to learn all by yourself; but do you think that it is possible? You have to spend reasonable amount of time and you have your regular things to do (usually under pressure).
So you now agree with me that delegation is vital (hopefully!). Let us see how to do it.
Decide and let go
First of all, it is the starting syndrome. You have to make a decision. You have to make your mind that it is not necessary to take care of everything. Sometimes the unnecessary guilt takes over.
The fact that you are not doing it by yourself doesn’t mean that you don’t care for it. Get rid of all the ifs and buts and just decide to let go.
Identify tasks to delegate
Once you have made up your mind, identify those tasks that don’t fit into your expertise. It may be one or more tasks; the key is to identify those tasks correctly.
Identify the right persons
The tasks that are to be outsourced are selected. Right, you now have to make the vital choice of the correct persons. Remember, you have decided to give this task to someone else because you are not an expert in handling that task.
So you have to choose another person who is not just able to handle the task but who can do it efficiently for you. The purpose of delegating tasks should be served; and you should save time and energy in delegating the tasks.
If you do delegate the task to a wrong person, you have to spend a substantially large amount of time in reviewing the completed tasks and correcting the associated shortcomings. So be wise and choose the right person.
The deadline (don’t be too strict or too loose about it)
When you divide the task among different persons be sure to make it clear about the deadline. Mention the deadline clearly with emphasize, if needed. However do not be too strict about the deadline if you think that it may trade the quality of the work.
Don’t forget to review the delegated work
When you receive the completed tasks from different persons, you must review all of them before moving on to the next step or finalizing things. After all, the major job or the task is yours and you have divided it among different persons.
You should be accountable for the final task or the outcome. So make sure that everything is correct before further processing.
Here are some additional points to take care of
Make it clear- the purpose of the work, what is to be done exactly, when is the deadline, which area needs to be attended more and which is not so important and so on.
Provide necessary support- provide all the necessary background materials, tutorials, training etc. that are needed to carry out the delegated task.
The accountability- that’s a caveat. People won’t be serious since it is not their work but yours and they are doing it for you. So as applicable make the accountability clear. It is either you or the person doing the task is accountable for its consequences and outcomes.
Do not overdo delegation- it will take extra time and effort to review the delegated tasks.
Delegation is an art and if appropriately used, it can support you in your job/business.