female CEO delegating tasks to an employee

As a business owner and manager, it can be tempting to take on all of the company’s big projects (and even the small ones) yourself. You know what needs to be done, and you can do it effectively. However, when you do everything yourself, it’s not only bad for your health—it’s also bad for your business. Managers who don’t delegate projects begin to bottleneck their own systems and slow down their company’s progress. In order to lighten the load, here are a few tips on when and how to delegate effectively:

Allow it to be a teaching experience

You should be selective about which tasks you delegate. Delegation shouldn’t mean simply passing off the tasks that you don’t want to do. Instead, use it as a teaching opportunity for your employees, and be selective about who you choose to assign tasks. Delegate challenging work that will stretch and teach those you select to gain new skills. As you treat delegation as an opportunity to share skills and knowledge, your employees will come to desire your new assignments and not dread them.

Maintain realistic expectations

Managers often don’t delegate because they believe they can do the job faster and better themselves. While it may be true that no one else can do the task exactly as you would, that doesn’t mean that an employee cannot do it well. Before you assign a project make sure to check your expectations so that you don’t measure the employee against yourself. Set realistic measurements for the success of the project, and write out clear and assessable expectations. Once you define a realistic final picture, you may be pleasantly surprised by the innovative methods your employees have for getting the work done.

Give exact instructions

Once you’ve established realistic expectations for the end result of your project, you should also set clear instructions. Particularly for tasks that the employee has never done before, you’ll need to help them get started and understand their resources. Rather than a last-minute emailed assignment, you should take the time to outline the necessary steps and explain how and when the job will be evaluated. Giving them basic instructions for the task will help them to feel confident as they work to complete it.

Check in

While the employee should head the assignment, occasional check-ins will help her or him feel comfortable asking questions and learning from you throughout the project. These periodic evaluations will also allow you to ensure that your employee is on track to finish the assignment on time. Be sure that these check-ins don’t turn into hovering or micromanaging. Though it’s tempting to take over or offer suggestions, your employee will learn more if you allow her or him to problem solve a solution.

The best managers create teams who can function without them. While striking the proper balance between which tasks you keep and which you delegate, the more work you share with your staff, the lighter your load will be and the more opportunities your team will have to grow and develop.

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