Multi-tasking is a great skill but with ever increasing competition, it is all too easy to take on too much. A study published in the Harvard Business Review, found 41 percent of workers spent time on discretionary activities that offer little personal satisfaction and could be handled competently by others. Letting go of that responsibility can be challenging, especially when the task has a significant financial impact on your business.
Here are six ways to delegate more now.
1. Allow people to choose their tasks.
Handing over tasks can be difficult from a managerial perspective because, to complete a task well, there needs to be a sense of ownership. Everyone likes to control what they are working on, while being handed someone else’s task can cause frustration. One way to avoid this is to offer people a choice between two or three tasks. That way what they are working on is more under their control. You have less on your plate regardless of what they choose.
2. Interim assessments.
The purpose of delegating is defeated when the person who took over your task is constantly interrupting your workflow with questions. While you want them to know that your door is always open, you need to get your daily work load done. You want your team to independently figure things out as often as they can. One way to facilitate both questions and independence is to plan interim assessments so you can assess progress, as opposed to receiving innumerable questions and interruptions.
3. Adapt your communication style.
Not everyone responds to the same way of communication. That’s one of the reasons two employees given the same instructions may deliver completely different results.
While some people adapt their explanations and instructions intuitively to the person they speak to, others might find it helpful to further develop that intuition by having the team go through the Myers-Briggs personality test. This test teaches team members about their own talents, weaknesses and ways to improve. It is a shortcut for busy managers who need the team to get things done. The test comes with concrete descriptions, such as “annoyed by fast talkers” and “increases attention to detail when under pressure.”
4. Prepare a FAQ document.
Written instructions are helpful when handing over tasks and so are FAQ sheets. Anticipate questions by preparing a cheat sheet with tips, best practices, and answers to what you think typical questions might be. Better even, in the spirit of delegation, delegate the task and have the first person who takes over prepare the FAQ sheet as a shared document in the corporate folder. As questions arise, the sheet can be edited by you and all team members to shorten the training time and reduce the time needed for interim meetings.
5. Delegate parts of the task.
Instead of delegating the entire project from A-Z, provide the framework and hand over parts of it. The ideal tasks for this strategy are the ones where you can outsource either the beginning or the end of it. Examples include marketing tasks, like presentations and articles where all you need to do is provide bullet points, and tasks virtual assistants could do such as making and confirming appointments, creating itineraries and retrieving data.
6. Consider opportunity costs.
Opportunity costs are the loss of revenue you are having if you did something else in the same time. So for instance, if writing a guest post for a blog takes you 20 minutes, your opportunity costs are equal to the amount of revenue you could generate with 20 minutes instead. When delegating tasks, consider the cost of having someone else complete it and compare it to your own opportunity cost, as well as how much the other person could generate instead. Based on that, it will not only become clear instantly whether delegating it in the first place is a good decision but also who can take over the task to make it financially worth your while.