The modern business world is faced with a lot of uncertainties. Even the best laid out strategies and plans can be thrown off by changes in the business environment which force businesses to quickly change tactics to stay ahead of the competition. As a leader, this presents an even bigger problem as it means that you are not always in control of things and sitting down to create new strategies all over again can be time-consuming.
Enter delegation. Granted, it is always important to keep tabs with what is happening in your business unit but you cannot be in control of each and every activity because you are busy and because micromanaging will soon wear out those working under you.
Delegation involves allocating duties and responsibilities to those you are working with and trusting them to get the job done. According to the doctrine of the fog of war, your role as a leader is to set the strategy while it is the duty of those working under you to execute it but they must have the autonomy to determine the best execution strategy, based on realities they face in the changing business environment. The fog of war is a military strategy which gives soldiers the ability to make decisions on the go, guided by the overall strategy set by the military general. It is an effective approach which allows soldiers to achieve the best results under different circumstances. It is based on the fact that the battlefield is an unpredictable environment and as such, soldiers need the flexibility to face the situations as they arise. This is the same case in the modern business environment, where plans can change midway due to multiple variables. The key, as a leader, is to delegate effectively, which will also enable you to stop micromanaging those you work with and give them space to actually execute their mandate as expected.
Here are tips on how to delegate without feeling like you are losing control.
1. Give Clear Instructions
The first reason that causes people to find delegation hard is that they do not trust those they delegate to. Most people will even claim that those tasked with doing certain things do not do them as well as expected. However, in many cases, the problem is usually in communication.
Therefore, to overcome this, you need to give clear instructions of what you want to be done. If it is something that the person you are delegating to is not experienced in, give clear instructions on how to approach that task. This will give you the peace of mind you need to let the person attend to the task without you hovering over them constantly.
2. Delegate to the Best Person Possible
Learn about the people you work with. Observe their actions and their approach to various tasks. This will give you a good idea of who to delegate to whenever you have tasks that you can’t handle. Moreover, it allows you to allocate duties and responsibilities to the right people at the right time, leading to a system of responsibility over time. At the same time, it allows you to identify your team’s strengths and weaknesses over time, which will allow you to know just how to allocate responsibilities.
3. Delegate Tasks and Authority
Most people make the mistake of only delegating tasks and leave the ability to make decisions to themselves. This makes the person doing the duty feel like they are only handymen who have no power and are likely to keep consulting you, which will eventually feel like you have done the work yourself.
To ensure that you delegate effectively, use the military strategy of giving people the autonomy to make decisions as they go, which will also allow them to be creative and take responsibility for their actions and decisions.
4. Trust those that You Delegate to
We all know that one person who gives you a task and expects you to do it just the way they would have done it. Such people have no room for creativity and are not flexible enough to let people use new tactics to get things done. They can easily stifle creativity and are often difficult to work with. Well, if you want to delegate tasks, you have to trust those that you delegate to. Allow the person to use their own knowledge and creativity to get the job done and only give your input whenever necessary. This allows you to also see what another person can do and learn from them or learn whom to delegate what tasks to.
5. Decide What You Want to Delegate
While delegating can be nice when you are overwhelmed, it is not always something to rely on as some tasks need to be handled by you. If you have a host of tasks on your desk and are not sure how to go about them, have a look at them and categorize them in terms of urgency and importance. Those that are not urgent but important are usually tasks that you can delegate to another person with the right competency, enabling you to focus on the urgent and important tasks. The key is to ensure that you know which tasks can be handled by another person and which ones must be handled by you personally.
Learning how to delegate can be hard, especially when you are used to doing everything by yourself. However, an important part of leadership is grooming, where you empower your subordinates to take on your roles over time. This is best done through delegation, where your subordinates get to learn gradually while you relieve yourself of some of the pressure that can weigh you down in a busy position. Learning how to delegate helps you manage your time and resources better, while also empowering those your work with so it is in your best interest to learn how to do it well.
How do you delegate? Share with us some of the tips you use in the comments section below.