The art of delegation: the right person for the job

The art of delegation
The art of delegation

Choosing the right person for the job is essential for any business owner…

Somebody too experienced might feel insulted to be given a task they consider to be beneath them, whereas a more junior member of the team might feel overwhelmed by the perceived enormity of the task.

Mallon thinks that it’s important to “Delegate to one individual and make sure they are clear that they have ultimate responsibility for that role. Ensure that agreed deadlines are set, as well as agreed dates for discussion and communication on progress.”

Mallon emphasises the importance of never giving more than one person responsibility for the role as that just creates confusion and could lead to the duplication of work, or tasks left incomplete due to people thinking that they are somebody else's’ responsibility. Fiona Dent advises choosing who to delegate to carefully. “The best people to delegate to are those who you feel would benefit from the development opportunity, or people who have a skill or ability in the type of work and who will benefit from the additional responsibility.”

Other than simply choosing the right person to delegate to, there are other important things to consider when delegating. Stuart Skinner is the director of PR and business development at PHA media. He thinks that being aware and considerate of other people’s workloads is a good place to start and also broadly concurs with Mallon’s points.

“In general terms, though, it’s best to delegate to colleagues one level below you and, in turn, allow them the freedom to organise tasks and delegate to those a level below them. That avoids an autocratic situation where one manager is delegating left, right and centre and allows you to work in tandem with those immediately below you, empowering them in the process.”

When it comes to delegating to other team members, the trick is to breed a work culture where nobody feels as though they’re being fobbed off with tasks that are beneath them. “If your team members feel motivated and happy in their roles generally, it won’t matter if some tasks are more administrative or menial than others and they will understand that people at all levels are faced with different sorts of challenges,” says Skinner.

However, some companies are unable to delegate simply because they don’t have enough staff members. Hiring freelancers could solve this. According to a survey undertaken by Upwork, an online workplace that links freelancers with businesses, more than half of workers believe their company could improve the way it manages workloads by bringing in skilled freelance support. The study found that only five per cent of companies are actually doing so. Instead, workers are forced to eat at their desks (52 per cent) or work over the weekend (49 per cent) to meet at work demand. As well as Upwork (upwork.com), People Per Hour (peopleperhour.co.uk) and Freelancer (freelancer.co.uk) are good sites from which businesses can source temporary staff.

In tomorrow’s instalment of our delegation series, we take a look at how sharing the workload can avoid burning-out…