5 Questions You Need to Ask Before You Delegate work

We’ve all heard the quote that if you want anything done, you’ve got to do it yourself. While it’s true that you are more than capable of getting things done by yourself, it may not be in your best interests. Studies show that business owners spend way too much time on tasks that don’t contribute to their income. To succeed in business, you’ve got to learn to delegate these tasks so that you can focus on more important things.

When delegating tasks, it’s easy to assume that everybody is as smart as we are and so we delegate according to how we would want work to be delegated to us. What I’ve learned in my years working with other people is that delegation is not as simple as just handing over tasks. Here are five questions that you need to ask yourself.

1.  When does a task need delegating?

There are certain tasks that you must absolutely delegate, and others that you shouldn’t. Apart from helping you get free time to focus on more important tasks, here are other reasons for delegating a project/task:

  • You need to meet a tight deadline
  • You require extra resources and skills that you don’t have
  • To build skills in team members and foster continuous professional development

You should not delegate a task when:

  • To avoid accountability. You should never delegate a task simply because you want nothing to do with it. Accountability remains with you because as much as you won’t be intensely involved in the fieldwork, you will still be responsible for overseeing the work. People who delegate tasks to avoid responsibility often fail at overseeing the work too. Don’t fall into this trap.
  • If a client requests your work specifically. We all have those demanding clients that request a little something extra, and they’re willing to pay for it. If a client requests that you do something yourself and you agree to it, don’t delegate the task to someone else.

Make sure that you delegate tasks that are not critical to success if you’re not sure of the person doing the job. I know executives who hand over everything to their PA’s because they’ve worked with them for multiple years, but if you’re not sure of the work quality, rather do critical tasks yourself.

Delegate almost all your admin work. Answering emails or filling in forms is something someone else can do without causing too much havoc in your business.

2.  Who should I delegate to?

Think about the skills you need for the job. Start by writing down a list of skills, traits and characteristics needed to complete the job successfully, then look for the suitable assistant.

If your project is running smoothly, you can look at delegating to someone with less experience, but if your project is not going well, make sure that you get an expert for the job.

3.  What do I want to achieve by delegating this task?

This question is important and it ties back to question 1. Besides time-saving, you must identify the goals of delegation. The pros of delegating versus the cons of not delegating.

4.  Will my assistant need any tools to complete this work?

It doesn’t help to delegate a task and not empower your assistant with the right tools to complete it. First research on what tools, apps or programmes your assistant will need before you even choose the right candidate. If you don’t, you may find that the person you delegate to costs you more money because you have to purchase extra programmes.

5.  How would you like the work to be delivered to you?

Of course, you must know in which format the work must be sent to you.  Don’t expect your assistant to assume that you would like an update every day if you haven’t asked for it. If you don’t set the right expectations from the beginning, you run the risk of a failed project.