Every IT manager has a slew of responsibilities, and it’s nearly always too much for one person to accomplish. Of course, managers are expected to delegate work—but as many IT managers can attest, the process isn’t as simple as telling other people what to do, and then waiting for it to be done.
Effective delegation requires some forethought, preparation, and supervision, as well as follow-up. That isn’t to say you must take people by the hand and walk them through every step of the delegated task in order to get results, which negates the point of delegation. Instead, you can build an improved delegation process that helps to ensure work completion, and increases the satisfaction of your team.
Understand the tasks you’re delegating
Simply telling one of your team to accomplish something can be a recipe for disaster. When you decide to delegate a task, take a little extra time to think about exactly what that task will entail. Know the scope of the work, including the outcomes, deliverables, and deadlines, so you’ll be able to explain what kind of performance is expected.
Choose the right person for the job
With a good understanding of the task on your mind, decide who you’ll delegate this project to based on what will be required of them. Look for someone who has the necessary skills and resources to accomplish the task correctly, and who is dependable and motivated to get things done.
When you actually approach the person with the task, be sure to explain why you’ve chosen them specifically to delegate this particular project. People like to know that their work is appreciated, and knowing there’s a reason they’ve been assigned this task will help to maintain motivation.
Paint a thorough picture
Here’s a common scenario: An IT manager delegates a task, but when the completed work is received, it’s not what the manager expected. Did the employee assigned to the task fail to do the job—or did the manager fail to explain it?
It’s essential to communicate your expectations when delegating tasks. If you assign something with a vague mention of what you want, you’re likely to get back something that is equally vague in meeting your instruction. On the other hand, giving too much detail not only creates more work for you, but also places constraints on your team member and may generate resentment.
Striking the balance between too much and not enough detail when delegating tasks can be a struggle—but by defining the task clearly for yourself, and choosing the right person for the job, you can make it easier.
Track the progress ahead of time
When delegating tasks, it’s a good idea to work out a schedule for milestones. With simple tasks, you may just have a final deadline. More complex tasks require a few goalposts along the way. In either case, make sure you communicate the schedule efficiently, and give the team member a way to report their progress to you.
Recognize a job well done
Delegation isn’t a one-time instance—it’s an ongoing process. You’ll have happier employees who are willing to pitch in if you make it a habit to recognize their efforts in completing their delegated tasks.
Recognition may be something as simple as a sincere thank you. You might choose to offer more concrete thanks, such as a note of commendation that stays in your employee files, or a handwritten note or thank-you card. If you tend to delegate large tasks, you may consider rewards like bonuses, gift cards, or VIP invitations to business functions.
Once you’ve worked out an effective process for delegating IT tasks, you’ll find that your department runs more smoothly and your team is highly motivated to help out.
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