7 rules for effective delegation

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Delegating work effectively is an integral element of strong leadership, but knowing how to delegate is not an innate skill. For many leaders, the intense self-drive and work ethic that enabled their ascent up the leadership ladder is also what prevents them from delegating as often as they should.

While commanding the helm of an organization often means wearing many hats, wearing too many can knock you off balance. Furthermore, great teams — comprised of individuals with diverse areas of expertise and backgrounds — are more than well-equipped to share the workload.

Here are seven rules for effective delegation, according to Entrepreneur.

1. Make delegation a rule. You don't have to do all of the work yourself in order to have a sense of ownership in it. Sharing tasks with team members won't dilute your sense of ownership. On the other hand, doing so will encourage others to become more engaged and feel a greater sense of ownership of their own, thus improving the quality and value of the work.

2. Be proactive. Don't wait until you're overwhelmed and at the brink of burnout to start delegating. Instead, recognize when your work is beginning to mount and take the necessary measures to address the demands you are facing. This could include hiring someone new or teaching someone the skills required to execute a portion of your work, according to the report.

3. Be aware of your team's strengths and weaknesses. Each team member brings different skills and shortcomings to the table, so delegation decisions should cater to these individual traits.

4. Be a teacher. Part of the reason some leaders are apprehensive about delegating is they believe they are the only ones who knows how to do certain requirements of the job. This may be true, but that doesn't mean you can't teach someone else how to do it, according to the report. While teaching someone how to pick up a new skill or complete a task may take longer than finishing the task yourself, it sets those individuals up to complete the task without you in the future.

5. Establish clear expectations. It is important to be as specific as possible about your expectations, including how you expect the task to be completed and when, according to Entrepreneur. If there are multiple people working together one a project, establish clear responsibilities for each, and name one person as the leader for the project. Take time to address questions and confusion in the beginning to prevent problems down the road.

6. Keep communication open. You can trust your team to do the best job they're capable of or you wouldn't have hired them. Once you assign a task and set the expectations, trust that they will execute it. However, it is important to keep lines of communication open and verify progress.

7. Give and receive feedback. Once the task is complete, be sure to give feedback. If they handled it improperly, let your team know how they can improve next time. Also, ask your team what they thought of your assignment and instructions. This feedback will help you improve your delegation process.

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