How to Manage And Track Delegated Tasks Easily And Effectively

Effective delegation is one of the most important features of successful task management.

 

Productivity systems, ranging from the Eisenhower Matrix to the Getting Things Done method, rely heavily on delegation to assist modern office workers reduce stress and improve productivity.

And while the basic concept of delegation may sound simple, it can be surprisingly difficult to do.

 

Why is delegation important?

It can be tempting to perceive task delegation as lazy.

A manager who delegates their tasks may fear that their colleagues will think that they’re avoiding their responsibilities and selfishly transferring work and pressure to someone else.

The reality is quite different. Task delegation:

  • Introduces collaboration into your business environment, which improves employee morale and project outcomes.
  • Builds trust between managers and employees, and signals to employees that their managers have faith and confidence in their abilities to get tasks done.
  • Assists in skill development when employees are given tasks that require them to improve or upgrade their skills or knowledge.

Instead of making managers look lazy, effective task delegation can create a more cohesive, trusting work environment where employees are motivated by the confidence and trust their managers place in them.

 

Why delegation doesn’t happen

However, the reality is many managers don’t delegate tasks at all, while those who do don’t tend to delegate their work systematically or effectively.

We’ve already covered one reason for this – managers may fear that delegating work will make them appear lazy or selfish.

However, there are other factors that can discourage you from delegating tasks, including:

  • A belief that an employee will not be able to complete a task to the same standard as you can. The only way you can find out if this is true is to delegate the work and check the results. You may be surprised to find that your employees can perform many tasks as well, or better, than you can.
  • A fear of letting go of a task, and losing control of the task outcome once it is in the hands of another employee. This is completely normal, particularly if you’re a perfectionist. But you can always follow up on the task once its marked as done, and ensure that it meets your standards.
  • Concern that teaching someone else, or providing feedback on a delegated task, can take as long, or longer, than simply completing the task yourself. In reality the initial investment in training will pay back over the long term as you’ll be able to delegate this type of task more often.

The keyword here is trust. By not delegating work, you not only subtly communicate your lack of trust to employees, but you deprive them of the opportunity to earn your trust.

When should you delegate tasks?

To complicate matters, there will be cases in which task delegation may not be appropriate. It’s therefore  also important to have a good idea of what type of tasks are most suitable for delegation.

Here are some of the common task types that you can delegate to improve your productivity without compromising project outcomes:

  • Tasks that someone else can do. You should only delegate tasks if you’re confident that the person who takes on the task has the basic ability to complete it to a satisfactory standard. It is not always necessary that the person who you delegate the task to has the specific skills or knowledge required to complete the task – if you can quickly teach them or show them how to complete the task, it’s definitely a candidate for delegation.
  • Simple, repetitive tasks. Tasks that take a lot of time but require relatively low skill to complete should be the first target for delegation. This can include compiling or formatting reports, copying and pasting data from one platform or document to another or any other task that can be done by someone with relatively little skill or training.
  • Need to call a client to schedule a meeting or take care of some corporate gifting? Delegate this type of task to someone else. Small admin tasks can become real productivity killers once they start adding up.
  • Tasks that others can do better. If someone in your team has the skills required to do a task on your list quicker and better than you can, hand it over. Failing to do so results in an inferior task outcome and takes longer.
  • Urgent tasks. If you face a stack of tasks, each with a deadline, prioritize these for delegation. It’s often better to get a task done by someone else than to fail to complete it by the due date on your own.

How to delegate tasks effectively

Task delegation has five core components:

  1. Identifying which tasks you will delegate
  2. Identifying who you will delegate each task to
  3. Providing a detailed description of the relevant task
  4. Indicating a time-frame for completion or a due date
  5. Providing a communication channel to follow up on task completion.

While it’s possible to achieve all of the above tasks face-to-face, over the phone or using written notes, these old-fashioned methods will cut into the time saved by delegating tasks in the first place.

When it comes to task delegation, technology is your friend.

Using a purpose-built task management software system can make it incredibly easy to allocate and follow up on tasks, ensuring that they get done on time.

Here’s how easy it is: 

  1. If you haven’t done so already, add the task to your task list.
  2. Enter a description for the task. The more detailed the description, the less likely it is your colleagues will need to send you follow-up questions or comments once it’s delegated.
  3. Load any relevant files or task collateral to the task.
  4. Assign the task to a colleague.
  5. Assign a due date to the task.

And that it – you’re done!

A task management application like SOPHY will take care of the rest, automating the task management process once the task has been assigned. This will include:

  • Generating notifications when comments are left on a task, which will be delivered by email and appear on the app.
  • Send email and app notifications when a task is due.
  • Send email and app notifications when a task is completed.

Once you have tried it out you’ll not only realize how much of an impact task delegation can make on your workload, but how easy this is to accomplish with the latest technology.

We invite you to try SOPHY for yourself.

Our cloud-based task management software never needs to be updated, task lists can be accessed by authorized members from any connected device.

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