Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Dare to delegate: maximising efficiency in the workplace

Returning to work after the summer break can be a little overwhelming and it’s easy to slip back into old habits – taking too much on and struggling to maintain the work/life balance we all crave.

For many of us, delegation is the one thing that we really struggle with. How many times have we agreed to more work than we can realistically handle? How many times do we do things ourselves, rather than spread the workload with others within our team or seeking freelance help from outside?

Doing everything ourselves might seem like the right thing to do, but the reality is that not only is it bad for business, it’s also not conducive to optimal wellbeing.

Here are our three tips to help you manage your workload and delegate effectively to maximise your effectiveness and efficiency in the workplace.

Start small and work up

For many of us, delegation marks a loss of control. We fear that other people won’t complete the task in the same way or to the same standard as we would and that makes us reluctant to let go. Delegation is a skill. And, as with most new skills, the key is to start small. To begin with, delegate only the smallest of tasks – then as your ability to let go grows, so too can the tasks you are willing to pass over to someone else.

Prioritise your workload

In order for you to successfully delegate, you need to be clear about your own workload. As work comes in, categorise it. Does it have a deadline? What is the expected outcome? Is there anyone else with the skills needed to complete the task? Anything with a less urgent deadline or a lower skill requirement, can be delegated, freeing up your time to the value-adding tasks. Keeping hold of tasks that could be easily or more quickly done by someone else doesn’t make good business sense – you should recognise your own strengths, and those of others. That’s the way to ensure efficiency at work.

Include instructions

This article from Psychology Today's blog suggests that the real reason we find it hard to delegate is not that we don’t want someone to share the burden, but that we are often dissatisfied with the results that come back to us. This can be easily overcome with the use of detailed instructions. These serve two purposes: to outline your expectations with regards to outcomes and to make it easier for you to let go of certain tasks. Even if the task is straightforward, the act of writing up instructions for whoever you delegate to, will avoid any misunderstandings in communication when handing over the task and help ensure that standards are maintained.

Still not convinced? Remember, delegation is not an indication that you are unable to manage your time effectively, it’s the opportunity for you to help others to grow, to strengthen collaboration skills and to develop trust / confidence within your team.

Delegating the tasks you haven’t had time to do could actually lead to greater creativity in the workplace – helping to identify efficiencies and finding better ways of doing things. So by delegating, you’re actually doing someone a favour!

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