As a public relations professional, understand that you will not always be able to accomplish everything on your own. For this reason, relying on and trusting your team to help you cross the finish line is a crucial aspect of being a manager. Delegating is a vital management skill that, once mastered, can help foster growth in team members, boost morale, increase productivity and prepare a potential successor. Here are 10 tips to being an effective delegator.
Prioritize planning and organization: If you are carrying a heavy workload, you may feel burnout, and your team could miss out on opportunities to learn and grow professionally. Remember: delegating is not a sign of weakness, and it is okay to ask for help! Prioritize time to connect with your team to assign tasks fit for each team member’s set of skills, and establish how you will reach those goals as a team.
Build your own confidence and trust in employees: It takes a confident, self-aware and effective leader to delegate. By choosing to delegate, you show team members you trust and believe they are fully capable of accomplishing the task at hand. A leader with fear, hesitation, control issues and perfectionism will only make the team less effective, less productive and less successful.
Maintain a growing and thriving organization: The beauty of delegating is it’s a skill that produces a win-win situation: as a manager, you’re able to take a task off your to-do list, and a team member is able to further develop their skills. Developing your team members through delegation helps them learn new skills and provides your organization with more qualified and trained personnel.
Communication is always key: The key to effective delegation, as is with many skills, is communication. Establish how you will communicate with your team so they feel comfortable asking questions and providing progress updates. A team member who is asking questions is paying attention. Ask employees how they are doing and how the assignment is going. Let this be a learning process for employees and give them space. Micro management is not an effective management and a major impediment.
Focus on outcomes, not the process: It’s true: there often is more than one right way to a solution! When delegating, understand a team member may do the job differently than you would. Let go of some control, and be open to the opportunity to learn new and different ideas and approaches.
Be clear on directions and deadlines: Be clear and concise with your expectations for all tasks you assign to team members to avoid confusion and misunderstandings down the road. Explain the assigned task in detail and talk through important points that need to be addressed. Outline what needs to be accomplished, and provide a clear deadline.
Know your team members: As a leader, you must understand the team dynamics. Knowing your team members’ strengths, weaknesses and special skills can help you effectively and intentionally delegate tasks to team members. Ask yourself: what does their workload look like? Do they have the capacity to complete this task? This understanding will benefit the outcome of the assigned task in the long run.
Allow employees to contribute: A great team member takes pride in the quality of their work, knowing it will impact the rest of the team and the team’s short- and long-term goals. Allow your team members to contribute their ideas and thoughts. As they gain experience and take on more responsibilities, your team members will graduate to tackling more difficult assignments.
Allow for failure and learning lessons: No one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes from time to time. Leaders must create space for failure–not because your team members will fail, but because it will allow room for your team to grow. Experiencing any kind of failure is an opportunity to reflect, learn and improve for next time.
Offer support: Providing feedback on results of a delegated assignment is essential to let a team member know how they are doing, and whether they have met the goal. Recognize good work, and highlight opportunities to do better the next go around. If they have not successfully completed the assignment, talk through why things didn’t go as planned and ways they can.
One person juggling many tasks can be hard. Delegating doesn’t have to be! Trust your team to help you accomplish and simultaneously provide them with opportunities to flourish.