The Key to Successful Delegation: How to Assign Tasks and Get Results

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Let’s talk about delegation— what it is, why it’s important, and how you can leverage delegation to optimize your business and keep things running smoothly. If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, keep reading.

Successful delegation involves assigning tasks to members of your team that best use your team members’ skills to your advantage. Being an effective leader is more than just bringing in business; it’s about knowing your team inside and out and who among them is the right person for a specific task that can often be too time-consuming for you to complete on your own. This article will go through the ins and outs of being an effective leader and delegator, how to maximize your team’s efficiency through empowerment and trust, best practices for good delegation, and how to overcome common challenges in the delegation process.

Delegation Types: Which Is Right For You?

Now, depending on your industry, your company’s size, and your delegation skills and leadership style, you can use a few different methods to delegate tasks. They are:

Type 1: Instructional

Type 2: Perspective Seeking

Type 3: Collaborative

Type 4: Observational

Type 5: Hands-Off

Similar to the many personality test types that you can find these days, the five core delegation styles can depend as much on the tasks at hand as they do on your personal feeling and level of experience. Let’s take a closer look at what each delegation type is all about:

1. Instructional Delegation Style

When does this work best?

• for newly hired team members who need a clear daily plan

• for team members who require consistent and unambiguous instructions

• for team members who are neurodivergent and work best with structure

What’s the catch?

• little to no room for collaboration or other opinions

• keeps you as the boss directly involved in tedious tasks and day-to-day operations, which can be a time-drain

2. Perspective Seeking Delegation Style

When does this work best?

• for a small and tight-knit team who enjoy being part of the decision making process

• for projects or tasks that require perspectives that you, as the boss, don’t naturally have

What’s the catch?

• this style can be a time-drain if your meetings run long without structure: so be organized!

3. Collaborative Delegation Style

When does this work best?

• for teams that have a natural rapport and feel comfortable expressing their ideas

• when conducting think-tank sessions, if broken up into more manageable groups to share ideas collectively

What’s the catch?

• can add more time to the workday and take away from higher level tasks and income-generating activities

• not everyone on your team may feel comfortable in small-to-large groups, keeping them from contributing or working optimally

4. Observational Delegation Style

When does this work best?

• for a more experienced boss or seasoned managers who are comfortable giving up “control” over projects and tasks

What’s the catch?

• you’ve got to trust your decision making authority and be okay with relinquishing control over the process!

5. Hands-Off Delegation Style

When does this work best?

• for the established leader who is gearing up to step back from the spotlight and focus on income generating activities

What’s the catch?

• with less oversight, team members are more free to use their own creativity and unique skills to complete the task. As a team manager, you should realize that this could often lead to more innovative and effective solutions

Making It Work

Now that you’ve worked out which delegation style works best for you and your team, it’s time to effectively identify which assigned task best fits your crew members. But how do you go about doing that?

It’s simple! 

Identify your team members, not only by their official title or department but also by their abilities and potential. Discuss with them either in 1-on-1s or in a group dialogue about their interests or natural skillsets.

For example, maybe you have an IT professional that’s a whiz at mediating discussions with unhappy customers; or a copywriter who’s perfect for spearheading your proposed email marketing campaign.

You’ve got to ask yourself: how are you, as a manager, leveraging the skills of each member of your hard-working team?

And how can you become a more effective team leader?

Bringing in your people on a collaborative goal-setting and skill-sharing exercise can be a beneficial tool for leveraging the unseen talents at your disposal. And as an added bonus, your staff will gain a variety of new skills and feel valued and empowered to continue working for and with you.

A happy, busy, and communicative team is the holy grail of productivity and growth!

Empowerment = Productivity

In addition to having an effective delegation strategy to leverage your team’s natural and learned talents, it’s important to keep up the morale and employee engagement simultaneously. But how do you do that?

Let’s look at this list of tips and tricks for delegating tasks that have been proven to shore up morale and employee confidence.

  • Provide opportunities for learning and growth: Delegating tasks can also be an opportunity for team members to learn new skills and take on new responsibility, which can help boost their confidence and career development.

  • Trust your team members: It is important to trust the team members with the task you are delegating. Give them the autonomy to complete the task as they see fit, and don’t micromanage.

  • Regular check-ins with team members: Use this time to discuss how they’re doing at home and work, any concerns with day-to-day processes or routine tasks, tech issues, or questions about upcoming projects.

  • Provide necessary resources: Make sure those with the delegated task have the resources they need to complete it, whether that be information, tools, or equipment.
It seems self-explanatory, but as the boss, it’s important to remember that your employees are human and work best when their achievements are recognized and rewarded accordingly. Doing so will only benefit you and your company— so what are you waiting for?

Common Stumbling Blocks

It’s important to forsee what could go wrong if the concept of work delegation is new to you, so let’s take a look at some of the most common stumbling blocks to effective delegation:

Ambiguous instructions that lead to ambiguous results

What this is: giving out unclear or inaccurate instructions expecting your team to do the legwork and figure out what you need without proper instruction

How to avoid it: clearly outline your instructions and expectations in manageable steps and in written format so that they are accessible to everyone and leave no room for uncertainty

Your tight deadlines are too tight for any work to get done

What this is: you want the moon and stars and you want them by yesterday, which can overwork and stress out your team and lead to sloppy work

How to avoid it: be more intentional with your goal setting and deadlines, and bring in your team to collaborate on when tasks can be projected to be finished

As the boss, you just can’t let go of control and keep stepping in

What this is: being a control freak might benefit you at times, but when it comes to delegating strategic tasks, this isn’t the best trait to have. Nobody likes a micromanager!

How to avoid it: as the expression goes, sometimes you have to “let go and let God,” but your team will understand if you pop in from time to time— just make sure everyone’s expectations are realistic!

Relying on the same people too often for too many things

What this is: when you lean too heavily on the same person or small group of people because they’re high-performers, risking burnout on their part and upset in your crew

How to avoid it: effective communication and open dialogue between a leader and team members can help to prevent burnout. Encourage team members to share their concerns and speak up when they are feeling overwhelmed. In short, avoiding burnout is a shared ultimate responsibility between delegation authorities and team members, and requires a collaborative effort to create a positive and healthy work environment.

Not acknowledging good work in meaningful and measurable ways

What this is: love-bombing your team with praise is great, but gold stars don’t keep the lights on and your staff knows it. 

How to avoid it: Put your money where your mouth is, and reward your people for good performance!

How Can Delegation Work with Outsourced Virtual Assistants?

When delegating tasks to outsourced virtual assistants, a hands-off delegation style can be effective. This approach involves giving the virtual assistant a clear task and the necessary resources, and then allowing them to complete the work with minimal supervision.

This style of delegation can be particularly beneficial when working with virtual assistants who are experienced and skilled in their field, as they can often complete tasks more efficiently and effectively than an in-house staff.

It’s important to note that this approach still requires clear communication and guidelines to ensure that the virtual assistant understands the task and the expectations.

This style of delegation allows business owners and entrepreneurs to focus on more important tasks while still keeping an oversight on the progress, and also empowers virtual assistants to take ownership of their tasks and to be more independent.

In Conclusion

At the end of the day, Forbes reminds us that it’s critical for business owners and entrepreneurs to delegate no-income and low-income generating tasks as much as possible.

Through healthy communication and consistent, intentional delegation, you can learn to keep your employees and outsourced staff interested, valued, and growing. By choosing the delegation style that fits your personality, your business, and your team’s ecosystem, you can leverage your crew’s skills and optimize workflows, make everyone feel heard and useful, and yield fantastic results that improve everyone’s quality of life.

From one small business owner to another, believe me when I say that the art of delegation cannot be employed overnight, but is it well worth the effort.

Ready to get started?

Book a strategy call with us to learn how delegating no and low-income-generating tasks to an experienced administrative assistant at BOSS Assistants can help boost your productivity and profits.
Picture of Katherine Perrotta

Katherine Perrotta

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