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  • Writer's pictureYvonne Root

How to Delegate Well – 7 Tips for Better Delegation

Before delving into the tips for better delegation, let’s clarify one thing: delegating to others takes time and practice – it is an advanced management skill. Proper delegating is not for the faint of heart.

Leading your construction business to growth and profitability requires having or learning many different management skills. One of the most challenging and therefore overlooked or underutilized management skills is delegating well.

Keep in mind that whomever you delegate to is likely to make some mistakes – and so are you. The long and short of it is that you will be better equipped to manage your construction business by practicing the following tips concerning delegating.

1. Choose

What follows is not about handing off a one-off task – that can usually be handled by explaining and directing the person to your systems and procedures for further information. No, this information is geared toward delegating for a long-term project or a new role within your company.

Choose What You Will Delegate

For example, since the inception of your construction company, you’ve handled all the estimates, and now you realize that you need to delegate the estimating duty to someone else. It could be someone within your organization or a new hire. Either way, you’ll be delegating what you once performed to another.

Choose the Person

Decide who will most likely be able to learn and carry out their new duties. Consider skills, temperament, teachability, and willingness to accept the new responsibilities or role.

Explain why you chose them and why you believe they are capable.

2. Explain

The explanation of what to expect comes in two parts.

Explain Why

Before getting into the details of how to perform the task or role, tell them where you are going and when you expect to get there. Let them know why they will perform these new duties as they affect both the employee and the company.

Explain How

Be precise. Clearly communicate what you expect, the deliverables, and how they will be measured.

3. Provide

The provision you make for the person you’re delegating to is paramount.

Provide the Right Resources

Think about the resources you use when performing the tasks at hand. From your company’s operating procedures to the people you seek out for further information, you have resources. Passing that information to the delegee is imperative. Don’t ask for comprehension without being comprehensive with your bevy of resources.

Provide the Proper Level of Authority

Clunk! At this point, many considering the idea of delegation run smack dab into a brick wall. And there is a reason for that. Giving someone else authority while still being responsible for the outcome can seem daunting. But there are ways to climb over that wall. The key is to provide the proper level of authority. From the initial days of training until the day when the delegee is given complete control, there should be different levels of authority.

Guage the level of authority based on the difficulty of what is expected and the criteria you establish for completing various steps.

4. Grant Permission

Let the delegee know they can do it differently. The focus must be on results and what is accomplished. Of course, your processes and procedures are in place for a reason. And, of course, part of building your systems is being assured that small or large improvements are always welcomed. Allowing the delegee to control their methods facilitates success and builds trust.

5. Review

Through reviewing and offering feedback along the way, it is more likely the delegee will get up to speed more quickly. This process is similar to holding the fender of the bicycle while the child learns to ride. Hands-on, hands-free, vocal encouragement. Eventually, the child rides without your assistance. And ultimately, the delegee does the same.

6. One Metric at a Time

Handoff one metric at a time. Think about teaching someone to swim. Rather than tossing someone into the pool and shouting sink or swim, leading them one step at a time makes more sense. For instance, swimming beside them and encouraging them to lay on their back and float (one metric) with you nearby to assist if they start to go underwater is encouraging for both them and you. Once the delegee can float, add additional metrics.

By the way, if after adding metric upon metric, it turns out the delegee is a better swimmer than you – job well done!

7. Celebrate Success

From quiet words of encouragement to a job promotion (with a pay increase,) there are many ways to celebrate the success and accomplishments of the person to whom you’ve delegated projects or roles. Think about milestones, incremental improvements, big wins, or roadblocks navigated. Use all the avenues available, from handwritten notes to full-on parties to celebrate.

Reflection: How will delegating some tasks improve your ability to lead your construction company? Which job is essential to delegate now?

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