Delegate work meaning & definition: What & how should you delegate?

Managers often struggle with delegation, yet strong delegation skills are a must for any manager wanting to improve the efficiency & productivity of their day-to-day work. It can be challenging to delegate at work due to the loss of control you experience, especially if you feel you’re the best at handling specific tasks.

Then there’s the concern of passing off a task without micromanaging the employee you assign it to. Thus, the delegation process requires a healthy amount of trust in your team.

Yet, effective delegation is something that benefits both managers & employees. In fact, research shows that successful delegation empowers employees and encourages them to seek constructive feedback actively.

Delegating repetitive tasks to your team will also free up your time so that you can focus on doing what you do best, such as finding new ways to generate revenue. Learning how to delegate work properly involves knowing your employees’ strengths & core competencies, and it requires staunch time management and leadership skills.

The good news is that any manager can learn how to delegate authority; it just takes time, awareness, and practice. If you’re eager to improve your management skills by learning to delegate, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to discover how to delegate tasks to your employees effectively.

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The definition of delegate

Formally defined, delegation occurs whenever you hand off a task or responsibility to someone else, usually an employee at your company. However, delegating work isn’t limited to any particular job, as you can delegate tasks in your personal life as well.

In the professional world, delegating typically refers to managers assigning tasks to their employees, which can include everything from scheduling meetings to aiding with decision-making.

Successful delegation doesn’t mean blindly handing out tasks to your subordinates. Instead, proper delegation involves carefully considering which tasks you can afford to delegate and which team members have the skillsets to get the job done right. It also involves monitoring your employee’s performance (without micromanaging) and expressing your gratitude once the tasks are complete.

There are multiple ways managers can delegate tasks, including the following:

  • Assigning tasks to employees.

  • Automating tasks via AI.

  • Outsourcing tasks to freelancers.

For instance, you may choose to automate follow-up emails, outsource content creation to freelance writers, and delegate answering phone calls to one of your employees.

That doesn’t mean that you should go completely hands-off when delegating tasks, either. The true meaning of delegating work is to assign tasks while providing minimal oversight.

The benefits of delegation

delegating-450x350px-2If you’re a manager, the chances are high that you juggle an absurd amount of tasks and responsibilities each day. That’s why you need to delegate some of that work in order to have some breathing room. After all, how can you expect to brainstorm new ways to generate revenue when you’re busy responding to emails, writing blogs, scheduling meetings, and answering phone calls?

Proper workplace delegation will brush all those cumbersome tasks off your plate, and it will provide the following benefits:

  • Employees learn new skills. When you delegate some of your responsibilities to your team, they can broaden their horizons and learn new skills. That can push them outside their comfort zone in the best way, which is great for their career development.

  • An organization-wide boost to productivity. Assigning the right tasks to the most qualified team members will provide a boost in productivity that ripples throughout the entire organization. You’ll avoid overloading one person with too many tasks by delegating evenly throughout your team. Also, by assigning each task to the employee most qualified to complete it, it’ll take far less time for your team to get things done.

  • Increased employee confidence & trust. Delegating one of your responsibilities to an employee shows that you trust them enough to handle some of your tasks, which will help build their confidence. Investing in your team member’s skills and abilities will also build trust and loyalty among your staff.

  • A better work-life balance for yourself. Are you constantly working nights and weekends to complete all your work? That’s a surefire recipe for burnout, so it’s worth delegating some of your tasks to your team. That’ll give you a chance to take some time off while reconnecting with friends, family, and your favorite hobbies.

  • More time to focus on what you do best. If you aren’t delegating any of your work tasks, you’ll spend all your time attempting to become a Jack of All Trades instead of focusing only on the things you do best. Delegating work means you won’t have to worry about repetitive tasks and can dedicate your talents entirely to what matters most.

As you can see, plenty of benefits go along with learning how to delegate, which is why developing the skill is well worth your time.

Which tasks can you delegate at work?

If it’s your first time delegating work to your staff, you may not know which tasks you can delegate and which you should still complete yourself. Even if you’re used to delegating tasks, it can still be a hard call.

To make things easy for you, I’ve prepared a list of some of the most common tasks to delegate to your team. These range from simple tasks like answering phones to more complex projects like writing blogs and designing infographics.

Social media management

Having a strong presence on social media platforms is a necessity for any company in today’s age, but that doesn’t mean you have to do everything by yourself. Creating posts, responding to comments, and uploading photos are all crucial tasks for social media management, but they aren’t something managers should waste time on.

Instead, designate one of your team members as your social media manager. You can even ask around to see which of your employees is most interested in taking on the role (while also checking their qualifications) to find the perfect fit.

While you should delegate the brunt of social media management to your team, it’s important to check in here and there so you’re not entirely hands-off. Try meeting with your social media manager to discuss key milestones such as engagement metrics, number of subscribers, and more.

Content creation

If you want to maintain online visibility on search engines, you’ll need to consistently create high-quality content for your target audience. That means writing blogs, shooting videos, and creating detailed infographics to generate organic traffic and dominate SERP (search engine results pages) rankings.

While some managers/website owners like to create their own content for authenticity’s sake, it’s 100% acceptable to outsource content creation to freelancers. Once again, that doesn’t mean that you have to give up control over your content completely.

You can still require your final approval for all forms of content so you can maintain your quality standards; you just don’t have to write every word and shoot every video.

Event planning

Planning and scheduling meetings, conferences, and seminars is a time-consuming process that’s best left to your staff.

If you focus all your efforts on planning events, you’ll neglect your more pressing responsibilities, such as managing ongoing projects, giving constructive feedback, and representing your company to customers.

While it’s crucial that your corporate events go off without a hitch, that doesn’t mean you have to plan every detail yourself. Like the other tasks on this list, occasionally checking in with your event planning team to ensure everything is running smoothly is all it takes.

Recruiting & sourcing employees

You definitely need to recruit top talent for your organization to thrive, but the onus isn’t entirely on you. There’s a reason why most companies have an entire department dedicated to recruiting new employees, and that’s because the process is so complex and time-consuming.

If your business is too small to have an internal HR department, there are plenty of services that offer HR outsourcing.

As long as you choose a high-quality service, you shouldn’t have any trouble letting HR professionals handle your sourcing & recruiting.

Travel plans, phone calls, and email management

Last but not least, you should definitely delegate someone to manage your calendar, respond to emails, maintain your inbox, and answer phone calls. These are all tasks that don’t directly influence your revenue, so you shouldn’t spend any time of your busy day focusing on them.

Find a few employees that you trust to take care of your emails, calendar, and phone calls, and then check in with them on an as-needed basis. This is especially true if your department has a shared inbox that fields external inquiries, customer service questions, and other similar emails.

Tips for delegating work successfully

Research from the Harvard Business Review shows that humans are naturally reluctant to delegate. Giving up control is never easy, and there’s also the fear of being seen as lazy or weak by your employees. Yet, it’s essential to get over these concerns, so here are some tips for doing so.

Explain why delegation is necessary

Let your team members know why you’re delegating specific tasks to them, which will help them understand your reasoning. Letting them know in advance will also help them prepare for the tasks they’re about to complete, which is a plus.

Select the right person

You should carefully consider who you’re going to delegate your tasks to, especially for projects that directly influence revenue, such as content creation. Taking plenty of time to select someone fully capable of handling your task will help you feel more confident with your decision.

Provide detailed instructions

The last thing you want is for your employee to feel lost once you delegate a task to them. To avoid this, provide detailed instructions & training for the new task to ensure they know exactly what to do before getting started.

Express your gratitude

Lastly, it’s vital to show your gratitude to the employees that completed tasks for you. Either send a thank-you email or express your gratitude in person to build morale and avoid any potential issues when delegating tasks in the future.

Final thoughts: Delegate work meaning & definition

While it’s not always easy to give up control and delegate tasks, it’s a necessity for boosting efficiency and productivity. Once you start delegating tasks to your employees, you’ll start to see the benefits almost immediately.

For one, you’ll have a ton of free time to focus on more important asks, and you’ll enjoy a healthier work-life balance. Your employees will also benefit, as they’ll get the chance to learn new skills & develop their careers.