In our last blog post we talked about the importance of delegation for leaders. When leaders fail to effectively delegate their workload, the added stress and anxiety of more work than they can complete on their own flows from the leader’s desk to the staff. This tends to set the entire organization on edge. Conditions around the team worsen as attitudes, engagement, efficiency, and profitability degrade. The first step in successfully delegating work to your team is figuring out which tasks you can pass along.
Categorizing Work to Delegate
If piles of work are spilling over on your desk, your last thought might be how to redistribute some of the work, but this is exactly the thing to do. Do it while you still have some clarity of mind and grasp of the projects at hand. Skillful delegation builds team unity and accountability, as people pull together to achieve a goal and help each other get better.
The baffling issue may be where to begin. The pile of work looks overwhelming. The first step is to categorize and separate it into two groups: one that cannot be delegated and another that can. As a leader, you certainly have assignments or tasks that must be handled at your level with your experience, connections, or authority.
However, many leaders are surprised by the amount of work on their desk that can be handled by lower levels. Some of it may be busywork, manual-type of work, revising work that has already been done, or tasks that can be done with the experience and skills of a staff member. This is the group of tasks that are candidates for delegation. Will it take a sizeable investment of your time to sort through your piles to make these determinations? Of course, but you will find the investment well worth making.
Workload priorities must also be taken into account. As Jayson DeMers, CEO of AudienceBloom writes in an article for Inc.com, develop a priority system for tasks. What is essential and what can wait? Delegating hotter projects may give you enough time to catch your breath and resume a more normal routine sooner than you think. Another tactic is delegating simpler, quick work and allow yourself to tackle the more complex tasks with better focus.
Seasonal businesses offer experienced leaders some predictability to periods of higher expected workload, so it pays to make other staff members available for delegated tasks based on a calendar. Plan for those before the rush hits.
If you need some help mastering the skill of delegation, I am here to help you! All of our leadership programs can be fully customized to focus on what you are struggling with. You will be amazed at the difference in your life once you embrace delegation and take some of the stress off yourself.