Delegation is the act of assigning tasks to other members of your team. It improves efficiency and decreases the burden on your shoulders. It’s also a great way to develop others and free yourself up for more strategic work.
The act of delegating is easier said than done. Effective managers need to know how to delegate and what they can do to ensure success.
Organisations thrive when leaders successfully delegate. When delegation occurs, tasks and authority are shared across individuals and/or teams.
Delegation can also occur across multiple organisations or Virtual Assistants. Virtual Assistants or OBMs can come together through their own entity to support an organisation seeking to outsource.
Research shows that the successful use of delegation is linked to:
- Stress reduction
- Organisational effectiveness
- Job satisfaction
- Organisational growth
As an organisation reaches a growth period where delegation and outsourcing become the option to sustain growth, trust can prove an overwhelming factor.
It is safe to say that releasing your workload and requirements to an external organisation (Virtual Assistant) can create overwhelm. However, you can rest assured when working with a Virtual Assistant that your business is at the top of their priority list.
Two Key Points to Review with Your Virtual Assistant before Commencing Work:
- What is your availability? While a Virtual Assistant is not your employee, it is important to confirm whether they will be available within the hours your organisation requires. Virtual Assistants often work within business hours only, which needs to be suitable for your organisation. They will also be managing your organisation simultaneously as other clients, and if you need them to work between 9-11 every day, this may not be suitable.
- Do they have a Client Service/Confidentiality agreement? If you have not received an agreement before handing over your essential business information, you should think again. Both you and the Virtual Assistant must have all of your bases covered. While a Virtual Assistant isn’t an employee, you have contracted them to complete specific tasks and hours. Delegation works the same as if they were an employee.
The DO’s and DON’Ts of Delegation:
- Clearly communicate which tasks and why. Try to make the best match between assigned individuals and ensure you clarify goals.
- See yourself as a coach or a trainer. Provide all the information and instructions the person needs for the assignment. Establish the completion criteria so that it’s clear when the task is complete and successful.
- Empower and support them along the way. Be open and encourage your Virtual Assistant that you are available and welcome questions and clarifications. This is expected when you first delegate new tasks. Provide constructive feedback, guidance, and course correction in a respectful manner.
- Hold people accountable. Delegating means that you have transferred authority for the task to someone else. But, as a leader, you still have to hold them accountable. If you are not happy with the work, be open and respectful but provide advice and review whether you could have provided additional details in the beginning.
- Micromanage. Give your team members the time and space to do the work and avoid checking in too frequently if it is a large project; set respectful meeting updates in your timeline.
- Take work back after you’ve delegated it. Even if things are not going well, stick with the person and dial-up your level of support.
- Fixate on the negative. Keep the vibe upbeat and make sure that you don’t squash enthusiasm. Allow for hiccups and small failures. Remember that your Virtual Assistant can end your working relationship as well. You both want to enjoy working with each other.
- Be closed to new ideas or new ways of doing the work. Delegating means transferring ownership of the work to another person. Their end product will be different from what you would have done. Embrace the diversity of thought and allow for their creative expression to shine.
Last but not least, with successful delegation, you will find that you have more time on your calendar and increased opportunities for strategic work. You will also have greater visibility and lower stress. When you learn the art of delegating successfully, you will find there are many more tasks you can take off your plate.