Method

Delegating a task

Created by : OpenDecide Lab
Last update : August 12, 2018

Obstacle

Knowing how to delegate a task makes it possible to meet several needs:

  • Preparing a colleague/collaborator to gain responsibility
  • Better workload harmonization

Steps

1

Explain why you are delegating, and obtain consent

Explain the reasons and context for delegating the task.

 

Collective volunteer-based approach: Offer the task to people you have identified as competent on the topic. Let the group share the task.

 

Individual approach: Select a competent person and obtain their consent. You can say: "I would like to give you this job to do, because I think you are the most qualified to do[the task], it will allow you to learn more about the subject and gain experience".

2

Give the right instructions

Explain the goals you hope to achieve and let them tackle the problem on their own.

 

Do not seek perfection or micro-manage; the person might perform the task in a completely different way than you would. Accept it.

 

To do this, you can delegate results rather than methods: for example, you can explain the current situation, and present what you expect, so that the person creates the intermediate steps, rather than giving all the steps to perform.

 

Example: "We need[Goal] by the[time limit], I'll let you get organized. If you need help, don't hesitate to ask me".

3

Provide resources and training

Ensure that the person to whom you delegate the task has the skills, tools and resources to do it.

Do not hesitate to set up training so that the person becomes familiar with a tool before delegating the task.

 

Example: "Have you ever worked with[tool]? We're going to need it to do[the task]. If you want to, I can show you how it works."

4

Delegate responsibility AND authority

You have probably already been in a situation where someone has asked you to do a job but, without decision-making power, obstacles have prevented you from moving forward. In the end, the task took longer than it should.

 

Maintain an environment and culture where people feel comfortable making decisions, asking questions and moving through the steps to complete the task.

 

Example: "You would have to do[a feature] by the end of the week. I leave you the choice of directing and...".

5

Thank your team

When someone completes a task or a project that you have delegated, sincerely thank the person by pointing out what has been done.

By giving this feedback, you offer the person a step-by-step guide that they can follow during the following tasks to succeed.

 

Example: "Thank you for[the task][first name]. Especially[this action]".

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