“Busy?" You’re probably swamped, but you gotta do what you gotta do, right?

And if you do mention you have your hands full, people often come up with the super-helpful suggestion: “Why don’t you just get someone to help with that?”

No way...If only you had thought about that! (sarcasm there, in case you think I’m serious)

How many times have you tried delegating some work, only for it to come back to you incomplete, poorly done, or worse off than before…and now with even less time to finish it? And it’s not that you don’t want to give, the problem is what to give, who to, and how to not find out at the 59th minute that nothing’s been done.

The good news is that effective delegation is not a fantasy or dream. It can be done, it is being done by hundreds of our clients, and you can do it too. The not so great news is that it will take work. It’s not easy, but the payoff is more than worth it.

What does success look like? Effective delegation:

Frees up valuable time for entrepreneurs to focus on the stuff they’re the best at
Empowers team members to showcase their skills and contribute to the company's success
Leverages resources of time and people (remember the saying: many hands make light work?)

However, it isn't just about assigning tasks - that’s easy. Effective delegation is about ensuring accountability and fostering clear communication channels. Below, I’ll outline the 3+1 steps of effective delegation, and give an idea or two about how to use follow-up in order to maximise productivity and foster a high-performing team.

Step 1: Identify the right (a) tasks and (b) people

Begin by identifying what you aren’t going to delegate. These are the tasks that align with your core competencies as an entrepreneur. Focus on delegating routine administrative tasks, repetitive activities, or roles that require specialized expertise, that is either outside your skill set (like finance!) or not vital to your primary responsibilities.

Once you have defined the tasks suitable for delegation, spend time identifying the right team members who possess the necessary skills and competence. Evaluate their readiness and capacity to assume responsibility without compromising quality. Hint: do this as a discussion with the individual, rather than just data-driven. Effective delegation is dependent on a solid foundation of trust, competence, and mutual respect.

Step 2: Clearly communicate expectations, deliverables, and deadlines

“Oh, I didn’t know that’s what you meant”.

Did that trigger any unpleasant feelings? Let’s actively avoid those conversations.

Clearly communicate your expectations, objectives, and desired outcomes, emphasizing any specific parameters or limitations. Encourage your team members to ask questions and seek clarification, avoiding any ambiguity that might hinder their performance. Provide them with the necessary authority and resources to execute their responsibilities effectively. Empowered employees are more likely to approach tasks with creativity, innovation, and a sense of accountability.

And while it is tempting to push people to work faster and harder…set realistic deadlines. Establishing realistic and achievable deadlines is a critical factor in the effective delegation process. Collaborate with your team members and consider their workload, priorities, and required support. By setting deadlines that are reasonable, you promote a well-balanced work environment while enhancing productivity and minimising unnecessary stress.

Step 3: Establish accountability and follow-up procedures

If there is one major misalignment in this dynamic, it’s usually on follow-up. Determine in advance if the individual is giving you updates, or if you are going to ask. Decide in advance what is being updated, how frequently, and to what standards.

Follow up can be annoying. But it is important to ensure things flow. You’re getting to give the whole task away…you can do the follow up yourself! This also allows for continuous feedback, mentorship opportunities, and the ability to navigate potential obstacles early on.

Bonus: Acknowledge and reward accomplishments

Recognition and acknowledgment of outstanding performance not only inspires and motivates team members but also encourages them to take ownership and excel in their delegated tasks. Regularly measure and evaluate their accomplishments, and reward exceptional efforts to promote a positive work environment and encourage a culture of continual improvement.

You have more than enough to do, and less than enough time to do it. Take the steps, have the conversations, and get the team to step up. If you need a hand, let me know.

Here’s to a less busy week and month ahead!

About the author

Murtaza Manji
Business Strategy & Leadership Coach
Entrepreneur, award-winning business strategy coach, and international speaker, Murtaza Manji is the co-founder of Kaizen Consulting Group which he set up in the UK in 2011 before expanding to the UAE and the USA. The company has evolved significantly over the years with ambitious plans to expand further. His vision is to positively impact the countries the Group operates in by supporting clients to create lasting values and legacies.

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Murtaza Manji - Managing Partner of Kaizen Business Consulting Group Dubai
Kaizen’s team of experts have worked with 1050+ companies across 16 different industries worldwide to achieve higher profits, greater productivity, and sustainable growth by creating efficient systems and structure. Get in touch today to see how we can support you.