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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

C-Suite Advisory

StaffScapes Weighs In: Are You Making These Mistakes Delegating at Work?

Business team working in an office

There is much more to delegating tasks than just telling a team member to do something and then dropping out of the process. Delegation is a skill that requires experience and attention. Improper or incomplete delegation leads to mistakes, lost time, and inefficiency. In this article, StaffScapes discusses some common mistakes in delegation and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: You Fail to Understand the Task and How to Prioritize It 

You should never set out to delegate a job to someone if you do not comfortably feel that you understand the task entirely and how it fits into your company’s mission and how important it is. Sending a task to a subordinate and only later determining that the task is much more important than you originally understood is a recipe for bad results. If a seemingly routine task impacts a larger project, it is your responsibility to assess its proper scope and priority so that the employee given the task will also understand the relative importance of the job.

Mistake #2: You Choose the Wrong Person to Handle the Task

Giving a task to an employee who is not well suited or trained for the job not only leads to insufficient results, but also confusion, lack of respect, and conflict with employees. A good leader understands the capabilities of every team member and assigns tasks that match up with particular skill sets and aptitudes. Making good choices in assigning tasks promotes good teamwork across your organization and develops eager and robust employee attitudes.

Mistake #3: You Provide Ambiguous or Incomplete Instructions

Human beings are very unreliable mind readers. Employees are especially likely to provide unsatisfactory results if they have to guess about exactly what their task involves. Effective delegation involves taking the time to provide clear and precise instructions. Every delegated task should include a measurable successful result and a precise time-frame for completion. Employees should know how the result is to be delivered, who they should use as resources, and what other tools are available to them for the assigned job. Do not be afraid of redundancy when needed to provide absolute clarity.

Mistake #4: You Forget to Supervise the Delegated Task

You must trust your team members to carry out delegated tasks, but it is also essential that you stay in the loop while the task is underway. Simple feedback processes help protect against bad surprises, e.g., you need a completed task in hand immediately only to find out that it has not been started. Many times proper supervision requires short messaging on a routine basis regarding project status, questions, or issues.

Mistake #5: You Micromanage Delegated Tasks

Staying deeply involved in delegated tasks might get the job done but at a cost. When you delegate a task and then remain involved in every step along the way, correcting and questioning mundane steps, your team is going to suffer from wasted time, frustration, and stress. There are times where being a “helicopter boss” is necessary, but looking over everyone’s shoulder while they are working on things they are competent to handle on their own (while keeping you in the loop) leads to poor performance for everyone.

About StaffScapes: As the leading Professional Employer Organization (PEO) in the Metro North area and across Colorado, StaffScapes focuses exclusively on helping businesses of all sizes create secure and responsible HR environments. StaffScapes works with all types of local businesses as a professional partner that allows them to spend their time doing what they do best. StaffScapes develops an individualized and comprehensive HR plan for every client, ensuring compliance and best practices while supporting day to day management and personnel matters. 


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Ryan Miller
Senior associate editor at ​the CEOWORLD magazine. Raised in Boston with a Brooklyn accent.
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