How Do I Decide Who To Delegate To?

The most common causes of a delegated task failing relate basically to selecting the person who has been given the task. This failure boils down to two reasons;

  • The assignment you have delegated is beyond the person’s capability level. The assignment or responsibility you delegate is one that the individual is not yet ready to manage successfully. It is greater than that person’s knowledge, experience, or skill level, and it leaves the employee unable to competently perform and produce the right results.

Employees are often willing to take on duties they are not really ready to handle, and many are reluctant to speak up even if they know the job is beyond their capabilities. After all, who wants to admit he or she is not ready enough to do something? So the employee is given the job with a sink-or-swim approach — throw the person the job and see what happens — which usually leads to the employee drowning.

  • The project you delegate is beyond the person’s capacity level.In this case, the issue is not one of competence level but one of workload. You have an overworked member of staff on whom you pile another critical project. While many such individuals rarely outwardly complain they suffer with the burden and stress to try to keep up. Overwork will lead to staff sickness and a drop in the quality of the work being performed. Overload the machine (your employee in this case) without consideration of its capacity level, and eventually, mechanical failure sets in.

So, what is the best way to decide which person will be good for which assignment? Here are some important questions to ask before even thinking about delegating a task.

  • Where does the assignment best fit functionally within your group?
  • Who has capacity in terms of time and workload to handle the duty?
  • Who has the interest?
  • Who has the skill and experience level best for the job?
  • Whose capabilities do you need to expand to fill coverage gaps in the group’s day-to-day operations?
  • Who is in need of a new or different challenge?
  • To whom do you want to give an opportunity for growth?

Get the decision right and you get a positive outcome, a quality product or service delivered, a motivated employee, a training opportunity for the person picking up the task and the chance to see the hidden talents of that member of the team.

Get the decision wrong or select randomly and none of the above apply and no positives come out with the added complication of having to do the task again, probably by yourself this time!

Make sure that you develop and challenge the abilities of all of your team.

Good Luck!

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