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Delegating Successfully to Get More Done

No one person can do it all. That means to be effective, you need to delegate at times. But that can be easier said than done. Below we’ll walk through how to prepare to reassign tasks and three common methods for delegation to help you get more crossed off your to-do list.

Ensuring a smooth transfer for delegated tasks starts with the initial prep work.

Preparing to delegate mainly consists of two parts: determining WHAT to delegate and HOW it should be done.

When deciding what to delegate, consider the repetitiveness of the task and the expertise required to complete it. Will the task repeat in the future? Could someone else besides you complete the task if given the proper training? And if you hand off this task to another person, could you make better use of your time on something else? If so, delegating the work is likely a good idea.

You might find it best to group related tasks together for easier delegation. Administrative tasks like paperwork organization, bookkeeping, and meeting coordination can be combined and reassigned. Or try grouping marketing tasks such as producing social media content, email newsletters, and social performance reports.

The how of delegation may look different depending on the type of task and where it’s being reassigned to. In some cases, you may delegate the work to your in-house team, while in other situations, it might be best to use a different route. Let’s take a look at three common methods for handing off tasks.

Team working at a table. Person is writing on paper.

Delegate internally

Delegating work to your in-house team can help you make better use of your time, while also maintaining a certain level of control over the work being completed. When you reassign tasks to your employees, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing so in a way that sets the next person up for success. This means you establish clear systems and expectations that give your employee the tools and context needed to get off on the right foot with their new workload. You should outline the requirements, agree upon goals to meet, and hold mini training sessions as needed to explain the systems. Since the work is being fulfilled internally, you still have a responsibility to make sure processes are smooth and your employee has what they need to do the job well. But it frees you up from handling all the details that come with completing the work yourself.

Automate when possible

Sometimes delegating doesn’t require handing off the work to another person. If the task can be automated, save yourself (and others) the time and cross these repetitive tasks off your list. An automated workflow is a streamlined workflow. Plus, it’s easier to scale. A few recurring workflows you might consider automating include social media post scheduling, customer chatbots, drip emails for client onboarding, and requests for customer reviews.

Outsource strategically

If you don’t have the internal resources to staff the work or if your internal resources don’t have availability to complete it, outsourcing to a third-party is an alternative that’s worth considering. Outsourcing saves you the time and money that it takes to hire, train, and manage new employees to staff all of your needs. And it can help prevent your internal team from being overworked, which can lead to subpar execution and diminished team morale. Outsourcing lets you leverage the expertise of skilled individuals in highly specialized areas without any extra overhead. A third-party team or individual will have their own established workflows, so there’s no expectation for you to create and manage those processes yourself. This means not only does the work get done effectively, but it also frees you up to scale at a faster rate. (If you’re looking to outsource digital marketing client services, we’re here to help!)

Check in regularly

No matter which route you decide to go — delegating in-house, automating, or outsourcing — plan to check back in on the work regularly. Resist the urge to “set it and forget it.” This even goes for automation. Create a reminder for yourself to revisit the automation every so often to make sure it’s working for you. You might need to make adjustments to the automation over time to ensure it still fits your procedures.

For tasks that are delegated in-house, hold regular status meetings to review the employee’s goal progress and help them resolve any blocking issues.

And for outsourced work, check in every so often with the third-party team or individual fulfilling the work to see how things are going, review performance reports, and make sure they have what they need from you to do the work.

Beyond that, be willing to let go.

It can be hard to release some control over work you used to handle yourself. It’s not uncommon to worry that the new setup — whether it’s a new person or automated system — may not live up to expectations. But if you can’t learn to let go of some responsibility for all the details that accompany the delegated work, you run the risk of becoming a micromanager. And that defeats the purpose of you delegating the work in the first place. So trust that person or automation and let them execute. Monitor and step in when further guidance is needed, but otherwise, let them do what you asked them to do. You’ll both be better off for it.

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