Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.
– Jessica Jackley
Over the past two years I’ve gotten a lot of experience with varying types of leadership and one reoccurring trend I’ve noticed is that the more a team can efficiently delegate the better everything runs. This applies to things as short as an in class group assignment to a semester long event. When a team takes time at the start to divide tasks up and make a plan they avoid some of the biggest pitfalls that comes with group work.
One of the biggest problems with group work is when the work is not split evenly and someone ends up doing most, if not all of the work. Taking some time at the start of the project for everyone to take assigned parts is a good way to alleviate some of the issue because the overachiever won’t feel the need to do everything and the more anxious won’t have to worry as much about people not doing their part. This is especially true if the grading takes the individual assignments into account. Deciding jobs early also helps give the project a clear goal and keeps everybody on the same track. Watching every group member leave a class or meeting confidently, only to reconvene next time with wildly different products because they didn’t have a shared vision.
Lack of delegation can also result in doing double the work. If there aren’t clear jobs group or team members can end up doing the same work twice. This wastes time and could lead to confusion if the goal is to plan an event and two different team members end up contacting the same people with slightly different information. On the other side of doubling up on jobs, there are the pieces of work that everyone thinks is assigned to, or the responsibility of, someone else. The result being tasks that do not get completed.
So, I encourage all leaders, or members of a team, to take some time at the start of the project to come up with a shared vision and assign jobs to people so no one feels lost and confused as well as ensuring everything gets done.
Here are a few different Techniques I’ve found to get started Delegating.
- Peter Economy, 5 Levels of Remarkably Effective Delegation
- Michelle Randall, 6 steps more effective delegation
- Victor Lipman, The Secret To Effective Delegation