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Learning to Delegate Effectively and Prevent Work Overload

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by Guest Contributor

These days we're expected to be superwomen. There's work, family and friends that all require attention, and every once in awhile you're supposed to be able to squeeze out a few minutes for yourself. But there are only so many hours in a day, and it's incredibly easy to get overwhelmed. If your hard work has gotten you a position of authority in your career, that overwhelm can be magnified. Expectations are high at work, but your expectations for yourself are even higher, and there can be an easy tendency to simply take on way too much responsibility. You want to show you're up to the challenge, but overloading your plate can have the exact opposite reaction, and damage all your work across the board. Your most important tool is your ability to delegate the workload. You have staff, and part of being a good manager is using that staff effectively. So here are a few steps you can follow to learn how to delegate effectively and prevent any further work overload.

Delegation is quite simply analyzing the work that needs to get done, and spreading out the specific task responsibility among others on staff while maintaining control over the process and the final result. So the first thing you have to do to successfully delegate is figure out what work to spread around. If you keep a task or to do list, look it over and separate out the activity that can easily be taught to others. It's even better if there are jobs on your list that co-workers are already trained to handle. Those are the easiest to delegate. Additionally, are there tasks on your list that might actually be completed easier, or with better results than you can yourself? Don't take it personally. Everyone has different skill sets, and your ability to take best advantage of those various strengths and weakness is the true sign of leadership. You can delegate work to a team, but the best way to go is to delegate entire jobs to one person. Essentially, you're giving someone a task they can see through to completion, as opposed to a piece of a job that needs to be handled by a group. You'll get consistent work, and they'll enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.

Next you need to determine the right person to delegate to. You're going to want someone who has the skills, as well as the willingness to take on the additional work. Think about their schedule as well. If they already have a packed week it won't help either of you to delegate to them. If you end up having to delegate tasks to someone who needs training, keep in mind the additional time their learning curve will require. Allow enough wiggle room before the job's deadline for you to go over the work and suggest changes as necessary. All in all, try to be patient. You are helping this person with their career as well as building yourself a future asset, so it may be slow at first.

Once you've got the right person for the right task, take them through exactly what needs to be done, and what you will expect. Set up a schedule with them, so you can check in and manage as necessary. And let them know you are available for questions. Remember, delegating doesn't mean you are completely uninvolved, just that you're lessening your day-to-day activity on that project. Handling it in-house is preferable to employing errand services New York, no matter how simple the task. Next time your plate overflows, your co-workers will be ready to jump in.

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