Here are eight tips for successful delegation:
1. Choose well.
Make sure you put good thought into determining which person you are going to delegate to, especially if the task at hand is an important one. You can be more lenient when delegating less important tasks, but tasks that will reflect directly on you should be delegated after consideration of the person's skill level and capabilities.
2. Consider workloads.
Once you have narrowed down the group of people you would like to delegate to, stop and consider each person's workload. You want to delegate work fairly so that one person is not overloaded. If you pile a ton of work on one person, the work product you receive back will most likely not be of the caliber you require. If you're not sure about others' workloads, ask what they are working on at the moment before delegating to them.
3. Take the time to explain.
Although it may seem time consuming, a good, thorough explanation is required for delegation to be successful. If the explanation is a good one, it will only have to be delivered once and will save you so much time in the long run. Explain to the person why he or she is doing something as well as how to do it. When people understand the reasoning behind projects as well as how to complete them properly, they can really take hold of them and make them their own.
4. Provide all of the resources.
After you have explained what needs to be done, it will be your job to see that the person has all of the proper resources needed to complete the task. If you ask someone to make phone calls for you, but he or she doesn't have a phone, the delegation will not be successful. If you ask someone to make copies and put them into binders, but he or she doesn't have the code for the copy machine, the delegation will not be successful. Make sure you have provided everything the person needs to complete the task.
5. Be available to answer questions.
Chances are even if you provide all of the resources and explain the task thoroughly, the person will still have a few questions along the way. It is important that you make yourself available to answer these questions. While it may seem annoying to have your day interrupted with questions about a task that you could do yourself, it will pay off in the long run because the person will learn everything he or she needs to know about the task and will be able to complete it the way you have specified this time and in the future.
6. Be realistic.
Think realistically about the tasks you are delegating and the person to whom they are being delegated. Don't have unrealistic expectations about how fast the person should catch on. While the task may seem extremely simple to you, remind yourself of how long you have been doing the task. If possible, try to remember how long it took you to fully catch on to it in the beginning, and be realistic about what you expect.
7. Be specific.
The best way to end up with a successful product when delegating work is to be as specific as possible in your instructions. For example, if you want a stack of papers to be folded, stapled, and stamped, be specific about how you want them folded. You can even complete a sample packet to clarify for the person exactly how to complete the task. There are a lot of different ways to fold things, just as there are a lot of chances for misunderstanding unless you are clear and specific when giving instructions.
8. Set a deadline, review work, and provide feedback.
To ensure that the task gets done in a timely manner, give a concrete deadline. When the work is turned in, take some time to review it thoroughly and provide honest but encouraging feedback. Don't hesitate to tell people if things have not been done correctly. However, keep in mind that they are in the very first stages of learning. Encourage them and give positive feedback on the things that they have done well so that they will feel competent and will improve when they take on delegated tasks in the future.
A general truth to remember when deciding whether or not to delegate something is that people can usually do more than you think they can. While it may seem that since you have been doing something for years, you are the only one who is able to do it, think back to the beginning. Someone once taught you how to do that task, and you learned. Open your mind to see that other people are more than capable of learning this task and others like it, and you will be on your way to successful delegation.