Everything You Need To Know About Delegating in Business

By Dominic Chapman / April 13, 2018

Everything You Need To Know About Delegating in Business

There are a lot of buzzwords that often circulate the business world; ‘delegating’ is one of them. If you’re wondering what exactly delegating means in business terms, as well as how to effectively apply it to see beneficial results for your company, then read on.


What is delegating?


Delegating is the act of entrusting – usually a task –  in another person. This is usually a task that you pass over to someone that comes with an element of responsibility. Someone will normally delegate to another person who is less senior than they are, and it occurs mostly in the workplace.


What is delegating in business?


Delegating in business is where a manager will pass over a task to someone in a position or role below them; it’s another form – and main component – of team management. With this task, a manager will also hand over the responsibility that comes with it. There are many reasons why delegating in a business is an effective way of managing tasks, but there are also right and wrong ways in which managers can delegate. We will explore these below.


When should you delegate?


Delegation in a company should be used as a tool, not a power trip. This is really important to remember as delegating is more than just clearing the workload off of your desk. There are a few ideal times to delegate a task to another team member. The first would be under certain situations such as time restraints for a project deadline. If the workload is getting too much and you have deadlines you need to meet, then small tasks and responsibilities can be passed over to other members of the team.


Another example of when you should delegate work is to push your staff to help them grow and develop. Passing over work is also passing over responsibility, and more often than not, this will make your staff feel valued and trusted. It will also give them the opportunity to learn more and develop their skill set which can only be a good thing. Just make sure you’re prepared to guide them along the way to get the best results for the both of you.


Why shouldn’t you delegate?


There are circumstances where delegation should not occur. No manager should delegate work to a less senior staff member just because he can’t be bothered to do it himself. This is just plain lazy and it will consequently look bad on him.


In addition to this, work should not be delegated if you know there are high standards to be met. Unfortunately, you can’t always be certain that the person you delegate the work to is going to complete it to a high-quality, or even complete it to the set deadline. If the work is of utmost importance, it might be a good idea to do it yourself.


Finally, if you are personally involved in the project, it makes perfect sense for you to do the work yourself. For example, if you need to write a project proposal and you know everything about the project – inside and out – why would you pass it on to someone who knows nothing? This would also make no sense when it comes to presenting the proposal as you might not be able to follow it correctly.


What should you delegate?


Knowing what work to not delegate is one thing, but knowing what work is suitable is another. The best kind of work to delegate is work which is reoccurring. If you give the same person the same tasks, they will become more comfortable doing the work to a high standard and you will feel more comfortable leaving it in their capable hands.


The best work to delegate to another member of staff will be work that is best suited to that person. There’s little point asking them to carry out a task they know absolutely nothing about, because, even with guidance, they might not completely grasp it. This could potentially jeopardise your reputation. Try to match the workload with the employee as much as possible.


To whom should you delegate?


As mentioned above, the best person to take on the work is someone who is somewhat knowledgeable in the subject area so that the work will be done to a higher standard. It’s also a good idea to consider how heavy their workload is too – you don’t want the work to be rushed or for the deadline to be missed.


Make sure you trust them enough to leave both the work and responsibility in their hands. No employee wants to be offloaded with work to have their manager constantly breathing down their necks about it.


How do you delegate effectively?


Now it comes down to knowing how to effectively delegate work. First of all, you need to have control over the situation. Be sure of who you want to delegate the work to and be sure what work it is that you want to pass on. Be clear what the deadlines are, too.


Be clear with your staff member over what is it you want them to do. Explain to them why and how you need their help with this work.


Be prepared to have to give them some guidance. They might not know as much as you do. If this is the case, help them out if they ask for it or offer your advice even if they don’t. It’s in both your interests as you will get a higher standard of work back and they will be able to learn more.


Offer them the chance to review the task rather than simply hand over the work and take back the final piece. You could call a meeting halfway to the deadline to see how they are getting on and if they need any further help or direction. This will also give you a chance to take a look at how they’re doing so far so that you can push them in the desired direction.


Have faith in your employee. Don’t just hand over the work, hand over the responsibility too. As important as it is to offer them guidance and support, you also need to let them get on with the job so it’s a weight off your shoulders. That’s what delegation is all about, right?

Finally, give your employee credit for their hard work. Nobody likes someone who uses other people to come out on top, so if someone has worked hard for your delegated work, show them they’re appreciated.