Effective delegation: Empowering your team for success

Effective delegation: Empowering your team for success

I want to tell you a story about a young woman — let's call her Sarah.

Sarah was a star employee, always the first to put her hand up for new challenges. She adapted, developed competencies and excelled. When Sarah's position evolved into leadership, she brought the same approach to her new role. And why wouldn't she? 

Except, within six months she was burning out. As a manager, Sarah needed a hand brake and didn't know where to find one.

We don't talk to young leaders often enough about delegation. So let's address it today.

The importance of delegation

Delegation drives productivity and team development. Everyone likes to feel important, and trusting a well-selected team member with extra responsibility leans towards increased motivation and engagement.

As a lead, not only does this take time-crunching tasks off your plate but it presents a more exposed, experienced and empowered team to work with. I'd take that as a win-win.

Identifying tasks to delegate

Here's a quick breakdown of different tasks you can delegate to your team for maximum productivity and growth:

  • Routine and repetitive tasks: Anything that chews into your time can probably be delegated.
  • Non-critical tasks: These tasks need to be done, but not necessarily by you.
  • Tasks requiring basic skills: If you have high-skill jobs, use critical judgement about who you delegate these to.
  • Developmental opportunities: Which tasks can provide growth opportunities for your team members? Delegating challenging but manageable projects helps your team build new skills and gain confidence.

Choosing the right team members

To ensure you have the right person for the job, start by assessing your team's skill sets. Look for intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. Ask yourself:

  • Is a team member doing this because they love it, or do they want a reward?
  • Is this a good job for someone because they are naturally good at it, or do they seek development?

Skilled but unmotivated team members are not necessarily your best bet. Highly motivated and lower-skilled individuals can be an untapped gold mine of potential. If you aren't sure how to assess your team, a free DISC profile analysis will break down areas of strength and weakness.

Finally, remember to be considerate about workloads. If someone in your team has a packed schedule, they may not be the right person to delegate extra responsibility to. Alternatively, you may offer to shuffle tasks around or provide some time management coaching.

Ensuring accountability

One area where I often see young leaders fall short is accountability. As the leader, you're ultimately accountable for the team's production. You're not responsible for doing all of the work on your own.

Always set clear expectations at the beginning. Provide necessary resources and stay responsive when your team needs support. Decide what taking accountability looks like then stick to it.

This doesn't mean you can't be flexible or change the plan according to individual needs and circumstances, it just means you have a plan to keep your team on track.

Providing feedback and support

Celebrate success and positive feedback openly. If someone exceeds expectations, invite them to share their approach or process with their colleagues. This type of feedback encourages team empowerment, peer learning and leadership.

Save any negative or constructive feedback for one-to-ones where the individual has space to voice concerns and ask questions. Provide direct, clear, actionable feedback rather than vague impressions.

Enhance your delegation skills with ICML

Delegation is one of the most crucial leadership skills to learn and develop. Yet, it's one that many mentors overlook as they support a new leader in their role. Discover how to leverage your team's potential and enhance your delegation skills with our Coaching Skills course.

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