How To Delegate Tasks in the Workplace: 7 Tips

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated March 8, 2022 | Published April 26, 2021

Updated March 8, 2022

Published April 26, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you’re a manager or someone in charge of a team, it’s important to know when and how to delegate tasks to team members. In this article, we explain what it means to delegate tasks and the steps you can take to delegate tasks, and we discuss how task delegation can improve your team’s productivity.

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What does delegating tasks mean?

When managers delegate tasks, it means that they assign or distribute a workload among appropriate team members. A manager that delegates tasks must decide which employees are most qualified to handle the responsibilities that need to be assigned.  When a manager delegates tasks effectively, productivity and employee morale may increase.

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Advantages of delegating tasks

In addition to increasing productivity and employee morale, there are many advantages to delegating tasks. Here are some of the most common benefits: 

1. Helps reduce the manager’s workload

When a manager can effectively delegate duties to qualified employees, it ensures that everyone, including the manager, has a realistic workload. When a manager doesn’t delegate tasks to other team members, the opportunity to become overwhelmed and miss deadlines increases.

2. Allows for creative problem solving

Delegating tasks allows for more people and more creative input on a particular project. When people work together on a project, you’re more likely to find creative and unique solutions to challenges. Task delegation also encourages employees to offer input and voice any concerns they might have about the project. This in turn allows room for more creative solutions.

3. Improves leadership skills

For managers, delegating tasks is a leadership skill that needs continuous development. Part of being a good manager is the ability to listen, communicate and encourage and empower employees. Through delegating tasks, you’ll be able to strengthen this skill set while also accomplishing important project goals. 

How to effectively delegate tasks in the workplace

It’s important to delegate tasks in an appropriate manner and to the employees best able to perform the tasks. Here are the steps you can take to delegate tasks effectively:

1. Assign tasks based on aptitude

When an employee receives a task in an area in which they excel, they're more inclined to enjoy the work. So, as a leader, it's important to understand your employees' strengths, preferences and weaknesses. For example, delegate a group task to those employees who work well together, and delegate research-intensive tasks to those employees who prefer to work independently.

Alternatively, consider allowing employees to choose their own tasks. Letting employees choose which tasks they receive not only builds trust within a team but also inspires members to get involved and present their opinions more often.

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2. Give employees proper notice

Receiving another set of tasks or another long-term responsibility may cause stress to an employee, especially if they're expected to maintain both their current responsibilities and their new ones. Give them time to prepare to help them feel ready for the work they're about to assume.

In addition, explain why you're delegating this work to them. Not only can you address potential strengths, but you can also establish the fact that you trust them with this task. Employees may feel more motivated to perform a task if they understand its importance and why they were chosen for the assignment.

3. Present clear instructions

When delegating a task, make sure you give the employee clear and concise instructions to avoid confusion and unnecessary stress. When employees feel prepared to take on a task, you can avoid micromanaging them throughout the entire process.

Clear instructions should include the following:

  • Length of a task period

  • Details of a task

  • Expectations regarding a task

  • Due dates or project deadlines

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4. Offer to train and supply resources

Offer whatever training and resources your employees may need in order to complete their tasks. When employees feel qualified with the right training and information, they’ll feel more motivated to complete the task. Consider planning ahead to train employees well before task deadlines.

5. Delegate authority where appropriate

If you have employees who have consistently shown excellence in certain areas of a project, then consider giving them full authority when you delegate related tasks. Employees who are empowered with authority are more likely to complete the tasks efficiently and carefully. 

6. Offer feedback

Rather than micromanaging, give feedback to employees after they have completed a delegated task. Constructive feedback is honest and meant to encourage the employee so make sure your words are positive and focused on reward and improvement. 

7. Show your appreciation

Finally, make sure you take the time to say “thank you” to your employees and let them know you truly appreciate the contributions that each one made to the project. Congratulating everyone for a job well done can help to keep office morale at a high point.

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