How to Delegate Tasks Effectively (and Why It’s Important)

Updated Aug 3, 2022.
Delegate Tasks

How do you react when your job becomes overwhelming? Do you continue till you break down or delegate tasks to others?

Sometimes when you look at how experts in their field of expertise delegate tasks effectively, you assume, they have excellent delegation skills. The truth is that often, what you enjoy doing can get tiring, so how do you cope?

The hack is delegating responsibility to other people while focusing on the part you can effortlessly do. 

This article will teach you how to delegate effectively like a pro and why this practice is so important for your business's success.

Read on.

Why is it Important to Delegate?

What does effective delegation mean? Effective delegation occurs when you allocate tasks to your team members to ensure a successful project execution

The saying “two heads are better than one,” is valid in many scenarios, and this is one of them. You need extra hands on deck if you want the best out of a project, especially projects that require more responsibility and a short time frame for execution.

Effective task delegation is important for several reasons.

1. Allows Optimum Team Performance

A team does better when everyone is impacting in some way. An effective leader must avoid assigning tasks to some team members while leaving others idle. 

If the project manager efficiently delegates duties to members according to their skills and interest, it builds team strength and allows individual growth.

2. Encourages Overall Job Satisfaction

Are ‘Jack of all trades’ really good in everything they venture in? Often, they just put the average knowledge they have into it. 

Realistically, average knowledge leads to average results. To get 100% satisfaction from a project, you must delegate responsibility to the best hands who are well-groomed in that area. 

3. Builds Trust Within The Team

Delegating tasks to your team members builds their self-esteem and trust. Assigning tasks to staff members shows you trust them enough to hand over such responsibility in their care. 

When you empower employees with delegated work, they show genuine appreciation and carry out the tasks diligently. Everyone enjoys the benefits when the final product brings out the desired outcome.

Why Do Managers Fail To Delegate?

Even with the obvious benefits of delegating tasks to your circle of professionals, some managers still choose to handle all tasks. Why do many managers not leverage delegation for their benefit?  

1. Over-Confidence in Self-Ability

If you value the work you do more than the ones you delegate, it becomes difficult for you to assign tasks to others. You can interpret this scenario as believing in yourself too much to give anybody a chance to show their expertise in a project. 

There is nothing wrong with believing in your abilities, but if you have people around who can do a better job, it is best to let them do it. 

Overconfidence in one’s self can create a bias in the team. Every manager needs to watch out for these biases because they can ruin the team’s chemistry in the long run. Effective managers know that delegation is crucial in building trust in your team.

2. Nervousness In Outsourcing

Accepting that you can not do everything as a team leader is difficult but important. Learn how to take your hands off tasks for more productivity. 

People get nervous when they delegate tasks to others because they fear not getting the desired results. While it is normal to feel that way but at the same time, know that one person does not make the team. There is nothing wrong with assigning someone else's job to another.

When there is a project for execution, assemble the team and address the issues the way you want them to be. Have clear expectations and communicate them effectively. 

Let every individual contributor know they will be held accountable for their roles in the project and constantly put them on their toes so that the best is turned in from every angle. 

The team’s success is the manager’s success in the end. See each delegated task as an opportunity for your team to learn new skills and take on new responsibilities.

3. Delegating Tasks Seems More Stressful

Another red flag for managers regarding delegation is that it takes more time to teach someone how to do something than when you do it yourself. 

On the other hand, when you take the pain to teach a team member some aspect of the work, you are buying yourself some time on subsequent projects. For example, you can complete a day’s task in two hours, but it takes four hours to teach someone else. 

When you teach someone else, you have used the number of hours for two days to teach someone in a day. But when the person gets it right, you will be dedicating that two hours of your day to something more crucial. 

4. Apparent Feeling of Laziness

Delegation looks like a weakness of laziness to some managers, which is why they would handle the tasks alone rather than assign them to other team members. 

The feeling hinders the project’s success because you end up piling up work and clearing backlogs when you should be attending to more important work.

Besides reducing your workload, delegating tasks provides learning opportunities for your team members. The ability to delegate tasks effectively, thereby building the team’s proficiency, is the characteristic of a good leader, not a weak one.

5. Lack of Delegation Skills for Successful Delegation

One of the core reasons many managers or team leaders fail to delegate is that they lack good delegation skills. Everyone needs to learn how to delegate. 

Task delegation goes beyond simply assigning tasks to employees or team members. You have to assign tasks to the right person qualified to handle the job. 

Before you assign a new responsibility to an individual, check your to-do list for tasks that fit someone else’s job description on your team. Delegate those tasks, check progress, and provide feedback to help the person on the job learn quickly.

How to Determine When Delegating is Appropriate

Failure to know when to delegate is another reason why managers fail to delegate. This section will explain how to know the tasks you should delegate.

1. When the Task is Simple

The first sign that tells you when delegating is appropriate is when you find a task too simple or does not require many skills. You can assign these tasks to someone else while you take up the difficult ones.

2. When the Task is Teachable

Some tasks that take your time do not cost much effort to teach someone else on the team. If you have such jobs, you can sacrifice time to teach someone how to do it. That way, you have bought many hours of your future time.

3. When You Do Not Have the Skill

Many managers take up jobs they have little or no knowledge about and struggle to get them done week in, week out. Instead of creating stress for yourself, delegate the task to a professional in the team so you can save yourself some more time.

4. When the Task is Time-Consuming

Avoid spending ridiculous hours on tedious tasks when you still have other tasks to do. You can break them into parts and delegate each part to a member of the team to handle. It is an opportunity to place your focus on other important tasks.

How to Delegate Tasks Effectively

Every project supervisor or manager should learn how to delegate tasks to others. Task delegation is a vital project management skill you need to have. 

Learn how to delegate your project tasks down to the lowest organizational level. This way, you keep everyone in your organization involved in the project. 

Effective task delegation is not just about assigning tasks to another person; you need to check progress so that you do not micromanage the whole progress. 

When you assign a new responsibility to your team, give them enough authority to make independent decisions. 

1. Select The Most Qualified Person for the Task

Managers should ensure they choose the right and qualified person for a job. Qualification is very important because of quality delivery. 

You can have many qualified persons for a position based on the job description, but only a few may show interest in delivering on that job. In your careful selection, do everything to eliminate biases to avoid jeopardy.

2. Keep Your Eye on the Goal

When delegating responsibilities to your team members, ensure that you focus on the goal. Several managers micromanage trivial situations and jobs so much that they lose focus on the goal. 

For context, when delegating tasks, especially to professionals, do not tell them how to do it; you only tell them what you want to see at the end. 

This act helps them to channel their adept creativity into the work without getting restricted by the stereotypic template offered by the project manager.

3. Be Receptive to Innovations

As the project manager, you would have the final say in determining how to go about a project (e.g., the type of methodologies in the case of project management). 

However, try to set up an editorial board within the team (could be a 4-man panel) to review the output from every team aspect.

This board will be largely involved in making important decisions regarding the project. Diversity of ideas will influence the success of the project. 

When you are open to new ideas, there will be an abundance of methods to get a result, and you have the choice of picking the best.

4. Allow the Liberty of Decision Making

Creativity is best harnessed when there are no restrictions from a higher power or external force. How do you feel incapable of making decisions because your hands are ‘tied’? 

When delegating tasks, do not frustrate them by restricting their decision-making. By giving your team the authority to make decisions, you empower them, build their confidence, and encourage them to do their best. 

You automatically earn each other’s trust, inspire loyalty, and the synergy between the team members will be amazing.

5. Facilitate Periodic Checks

Every project manager’s job is to balance choking their opinions on team members and recklessly leaving them to do what they like. 

As much as you want to leave them to flex their skills on the assigned tasks, always find time to check up on the job's progress and maintain control of activities.

Set aside time per day/week to check on them, discuss the job constraints so far, rub minds together, and provide solutions so they can proceed. This way, they feel energized and more confident to carry on with the task.

6. Motivate Your Team Members

One of the best ways to motivate your team is to be full of energy. When you are full of energy, you become a source of inspiration to the team. 

Motivation increases the team’s professional development and indirectly makes every individual better than their past self. 

You can introduce a monthly performance review or direct reports to rate and recognize the best members or top performers per month. Yearning to stay at the top of the chart keeps everyone on their toes.

7. Build a Good Relationship with the Team

A good work relationship with your team is as important as the tasks assigned to everyone. 

Managers have gotten bad outputs from team members not because they are incompetent but because the work atmosphere creates anxiety in the team, which messes with everyone’s creative process. 

Ensure that you build a good work relationship with every team member

8. Learn to Appreciate the Team

Nothing speaks badly of a project manager than having a team that feels unacknowledged. 

Appreciation is another motivation for your team because they always want to up their game when they know you value them. Studies show that people do better when their efforts are acknowledged.

When a team member completes a task, genuinely appreciate them and highlight the best part of their contribution to the task. That ‘thank you’ phrase can stir their spirits to do more in subsequent tasks.

Benefits of Learning to Delegate

Task delegation is beneficial to the project manager, team members, and the organization as a whole.

1. Saves Time

The obvious benefit of task delegation is that it helps you save time and lighten your workload. To prevent burnout, you can improve overall productivity and performance by distributing tasks adequately among your employees.

2. Train Future Leaders

Delegating roles and authority to your team members help you train and develop people into future project management specialists and managers. Your employees will gain vital knowledge and develop new skills.

3. Creates a Positive Business Culture

The best benefit of task delegation for businesses is that it encourages a positive business culture. 

Task delegation helps improve productivity, enthusiasm, and cooperation and boosts team morale. All these attributes are crucial for creating a positive business culture. Delegating authority and the right tasks helps reduce turnover rates and improve project deliverables. 

Strong culture lines up with strong organizational adaptability
Source: PwC

Delegate and Manage Tasks Better Using Task Management Software

Delegating effectively on a large scale requires you to use better tools than a to-do list or spreadsheet document. A better alternative is using task management software to automate task delegation and management. 

  • Monday.com offers powerful features and great visualization tools for delegating tasks effectively.
  • ClickUp offers the best free plan with highly-customizable task management features to suit any business. 
  • Smartsheet is the best software that uses a spreadsheet interface and offers advanced features such as automated workflows and no-code integrations for Excel users.

Best Tips to Delegate Work and Responsibilities

Delegate work and responsibilities among your employees to share workload effectively and cultivate high-performing teams.

1. Delegate Tasks According to the Employee’s Strengths

Regardless of your personal opinions, you should delegate tasks according to the employees’ experience and strengths. It is a hack for the successful delegation that managers take for granted. 

2. Understand What and When to Delegate

Knowing the right time and tasks to delegate is very important for the execution of any project. When there is a new project, carefully sort out the tasks that you can delegate effectively and the ones that require your managerial proficiency. 

After mapping out the tasks, identify the right time to delegate the tasks to the team. 

The ideal time to assign a task to a member for the first time is at the beginning of the project management phase (project initiation), when there’s enough time to understand the basics before delivering.

3. State Your Reasons for Delegation

While you delegate tasks to your team, clearly state your reasons for assigning that particular task to that employee. 

Show your confidence in their ability to carry out the task and highlight the qualities that make them the perfect fit for that position. You are consequently building their self-confidence.

As the manager, connect their skills to the requirements of the delegated tasks. Stating your reasons encourages fulfillment on their part.

4. Be Heavy On the Desired Result

When dishing out tasks, be clear on the instructions you have for them and the desired goal. Set the expectations right from the project initiation phase to avoid confusion later. 

When you do not clarify these things, employees might lose focus, face difficulties, or get stuck during execution, which can slow down the whole process.

5. Provide the Necessary Resources

No one expects employees to accomplish expected results without first giving them the necessary resources or tools. Ensure the resources your team requires to perform their job adequately are available. 

They need to enroll and set up the program to acquire the right knowledge if it is a training program. 

Outline the necessary resources, skills, software, or expertise requirements. It clarifies every employee's responsibility before they carry out their tasks. 

Providing every necessary thing during the delegation process takes the team closer to achieving expected results.

Anastasia Belyh

Editor at FounderJar

Anastasia has been a professional blogger and researcher since 2014. She loves to perform in-depth software reviews to help software buyers make informed decisions when choosing project management software, CRM tools, website builders, and everything around growing a startup business.

Anastasia worked in management consulting and tech startups, so she has lots of experience in helping professionals choosing the right business software.