Skip to Main Content Skip to bottom Skip to Chat, Email, Text

5 tips for delegating tasks effectively 

checkmark

This article has been vetted by University of Phoenix's editorial advisory committee. 
Read more about our editorial process.

Jessica Roper, MBA, Director of Career Services

Reviewed by Jessica Roper, MBA, Director of Career Services

At a glance

  • Benefits of delegating include improved efficiency, problem solving, motivation and creativity.
  • To delegate effectively, you must identify and assign the right people to tasks, engage clear communication and leverage tools for efficiency, among other things.
  • When delegation works, you'll notice improved productivity, quality of work and employee satisfaction.
  • University of Phoenix offers free career tools and resources for those seeking further guidance on their career journey.

This article was updated on December 6, 2023.
 

Why delegating tasks is good for everyone

Delegation offers more advantages than just getting tasks off your plate. Done right, it can transform your team into a well-oiled, super-productive machine that achieves more. It can also empower team members by offering opportunities to develop skills and improve their time management.

In fact, no matter your leadership style, delegating tasks is a way for your team to step up, hone their skills and gain confidence.

It’s not always second nature, however, to delegate work. Here, we take a closer look at why delegating is a good idea, and provide five tips for learning how to delegate tasks in the workplace.

Sign up for our LinkedIn® newsletter to receive career planning tips, resumé help and more. 

Benefits of delegation

Proper delegation makes everyone’s life easier. Here are some of the benefits:

1. Increased efficiency

Delegation can improve efficiency when:

  • It frees up your schedule so you can focus on big-picture tasks.
  • Team members can specialize in their roles and boost output.
  • Each person focuses on their expertise and improves overall quality.

2. Improved problem solving

Delegation isn’t just about lightening your load — it also helps foster problem-solving. Here’s how:

  • You stimulate your team’s ingenuity by allowing them to tackle new problems and challenges.
  • With each solved problem, employees gain confidence to tackle similar or more complex tasks in the future.
  • Autonomy fosters a problem-solving mindset in which team members take the initiative to find solutions rather than relying on guidance from their managers.
  • Delegated tasks allow employees to apply their skills in real-world situations and refine and apply their abilities in new and effective ways.

Improved motivation

Let’s unpack how delegation fuels motivation and ownership:

  • When you delegate tasks, you signal trust in your team’s abilities. This confidence can motivate employees to rise to the challenge and deliver their best.
  • Delegation allows team members to learn new skills and gain diverse experiences. This opportunity for personal and professional growth can motivate them to take on new tasks and develop a lifelong learning mindset.
  • Employees can derive satisfaction from a job well done, which in turn motivates them to tackle the next challenge.

Enhanced creativity

Delegation is also a catalyst for creativity and innovation. Here’s how:

  • Leaning on outside or additional perspectives can lead to creative solutions you may not have considered otherwise.
  • When you delegate tasks, you empower team members to approach them in their own way.
  • As team members successfully navigate tasks, their confidence in their creative abilities grows. This confidence can inspire them to bring more creative ideas.
  • Delegating routine tasks opens up time and mental space for you to focus on strategic creative thinking.

As for product innovation, delegation allows you to tap into a collective pool of talent and ideas — the perfect combination for creating something remarkable.

How to delegate well

Sure, delegating sounds great, but how do you do it? Here are five steps to becoming an efficient delegator.

1. Identify and assign the right people

Start with getting to know your team. Understand their skills, aptitudes and interests. Do they have a knack for detail? A creative flair? An uncanny ability to connect dots that others don’t see? Use this knowledge to assign tasks that are appropriate to their skill levels, foster their growth and keep them engaged.

Balance is key — overloading team members because they excel in a particular area could lead to burnout. Delegate only if they have the ability to take on new tasks.

Leadership courses can help you learn techniques to assess your team’s abilities, enhance your decision-making skills and improve your communication style, making assigning the right people to the right tasks much easier. 

read similar articles

Group of friends walking and happy

Burnout busters: How to do spring break (and life) as an adult student

2. Develop clear communication

When you delegate a task, clarify what you expect, by when and why it’s essential.

Clear expectations are vital to keep the process or project on track. Set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) goals to provide a pathway to success. Also, ensure your team understands what needs to be done as well as the broader context — how will their tasks contribute to the company’s overall goals? This will ideally help align the end result with the overall vision.

If communication isn’t your natural forte, online communication courses can come in handy. Such courses can provide practical tips, including how to articulate your expectations, give feedback and navigate difficult conversations. They can also teach techniques for becoming more persuasive and tailoring your communication style to different individuals and situations.

Other key tips for communication:

  • Be timely and consistent
  • Provide regular feedback
  • Create checkpoints to ensure progress tracking

Open lines of communication invite questions and suggestions, allowing room for innovation.

3. Set realistic expectations

Again, SMART goals come into play here — consider the timeline for each task and the resources available. Also, consider external demands, holidays and other projects that must be juggled. Break down large tasks into manageable chunks, each with its own mini-deadline. Team members can experience the thrill of accomplishment as they tick off each part.

Likewise, a deadline that seems reasonable to you might not be feasible for them. You can’t always know what other deadlines they’re juggling. Involve them in setting goals and deadlines. This will give you a more realistic picture of everyone’s role and responsibility while increasing your team’s ownership and commitment to the tasks.

4. Use technology to support delegation

Numerous tools are available to help you keep track of who’s doing what and when it needs to be done. For instance, project management software and task tracking systems provide a comprehensive overview, changes in status, deadlines and team members’ progress. Such tools help keep everyone connected and eliminate the need for manual tracking or follow-ups.

Communication tools help you maintain clear and continuous interactions. Additionally, cloud storage platforms make sharing resources a breeze. Calendar apps are perfect for scheduling meetings, setting reminders and keeping everyone aligned on deadlines.

5. Create a follow-up plan

Following up isn’t about micromanaging — it’s about providing support, catching potential issues early and maintaining communication. Here’s how you can master it:

  • Schedule regular check-ins: These could be daily, weekly or at significant milestones. Discuss progress, address roadblocks and offer help if needed.
  • Provide constructive feedback: If the task is on track, recognize the effort. If there are areas of improvement, address them in a supportive manner.
  • Be flexible: Follow-ups might reveal that a task is more complex than initially thought or that the deadline was too optimistic. Be ready to adjust parameters as necessary.
  • Record progress made, issues encountered and solutions implemented: This provides a reference for future tasks and helps in performance reviews.

An effective follow-up process provides the guidance and support necessary for your team to deliver their best work.

read similar articles

Woman balancing on a book with a clock

It’s about time! 5 effective time management strategies for working adult students

Ways to measure potential success of delegation 

It’s crucial to know whether your delegation strategy is working. Here are some tips to help you track and measure success:

  • Completion of tasks: If tasks are completed on time and meet standards, delegating was a success. 
  • Quality of work: Evaluating the output and measuring it against the initial goal provides insight into effectiveness.
  • Employee satisfaction: Regular feedback sessions or anonymous surveys help you gauge employee satisfaction and identify areas for improvement.
  • Productivity: If you find yourself with more time for making decisions, strategizing and innovating, it was a good call to delegate.
  • Improved employee skills and confidence: Your team should increasingly demonstrate the ability to take on more complex tasks.

Enhancing your career experience at University of Phoenix

Successful delegation begins with a well-prepared and informed team leader. In addition to learning from experience, such professionals can pick up tools and techniques to improve their leadership skills when they complete a bachelor’s degree in business or a master’s degree in business administration. These programs focus on the importance of accountability, problem-solving and communication.

In addition to education, University of Phoenix offers a range of career resources to support individuals during their professional journey. These include: 

  • Career Services for Life®: Available to UOPX students and graduates, this offering comprises complimentary career coaching, including guidance on how to build a personal brand and write a resumé.
  • Free career resources: Browse a range of downloadable guides and templates to help you optimize your LinkedIn® profile, get ready for a job interview and write a resumé and cover letter.
  • Career With Confidence™ newsletter: Get career insights every week via UOPX’s LinkedIn newsletter.
Portrait of Michael Feder

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Feder is a content marketing specialist at University of Phoenix, where he researches and writes on a variety of topics, ranging from healthcare to IT. He is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars program and a New Jersey native!

 

want to read more like this?

Developing Executive Presence: Key Characteristics and Strategies

Career Support

December 27, 2023 • 2 minutes

How to Create a Career Development Plan

Career Support

September 13, 2022 • 9 minutes

Today's Job Market: Business and Finance

Career Support

April 21, 2022 • 12 minutes