The Best Leaders Delegate to an Assistant by Avoiding These 3 Pitfalls

By Deena Anreise | Updated: 22 May, 2017

Teamwork is the cornerstone of every successful business, but achieving team cohesivity can be a challenge. Leaders, managers, and business founders often struggle to understand what they can do to ensure their teams work together in the most effective way.

By definition, teamwork is bigger than one person. But there is one important action that any leader can do to promote teamwork: delegation.

Delegation has many qualities in its favor. To speed along a time-sensitive project, specific duties can be assigned to team members who excel in those specific areas. Conversely, if a project has a lot of lead time, it can be beneficial to assign certain tasks to members of your team who are less skilled in that area, with the goal of strengthening their skillset.

More often than not, leaders choose to delegate to an assistant who can manage all repeatable tasks. By delegating these tasks, leaders gain back time to accomplish more high touch tasks. 

Delegating is a great way for leaders to test the strengths and weaknesses of their team members. Delegating also provides a proactive way for leaders to give team members a feeling of ownership and a continued sense of advancement while freeing up their own time to focus on more higher level, pressing issues that only they can tackle.

Delegation is obviously fantastic on many levels. But how does one delegate effectively?

Here are 3 of the most common pitfalls that leaders fall into when delegating...and how to avoid them.

#1 Pitfall: Inhibit

Don’t stifle creativity by assigning jobs and requiring each team member to focus solely and individually on that task alone.

Solution: Reward your team by stoking their sense of continued advancement. Providing your team members with opportunities to grow and acquire new skills can go a long way.

A team member’s sense of achievement and worthiness will inspire them to push themselves harder next time, not give up, and to give their best. Show them you see how hard they are working.

When they nail it, let them know they’ve done a good job.

#2 Pitfall: Micromanage

Micromanaging is an undesirable behavior for two reasons. It shows a lack of trust in your workers to do their job, and it bogs you down with minutia when you should strive to have a clean plate so you are able to focus on bigger issues.

So, don’t delegate to your team and then micromanage them. Leave well enough alone, and let your team actually do the work without meddling.

Solution: Trust your team. You gave them their job for a reason. That said, they are ready for the task or motivated enough to grow into it. Either way, give them breathing room. If someone is struggling to complete what they’re assigned, offer help or advice or suggest they collaborate with a team member.

Even a worker who has failed at a task in the past should be given another opportunity, since they likely learned from their mistakes and will appreciate your show of faith.

#3 Pitfall: Over-assign

All this talk of delegation and its benefits may make you want to over delegate by assigning all the work to the members of your team so you can sit back and relax. Don’t fall for this temptation. Doing so can harm your business.

Solution: As a leader, you are naturally responsible for the big picture and general project management. A lack of participation on behalf of a business’s leader means a lack of supervision and accountability on behalf of the team members.

Delegating should never be the act of giving over the work you should be doing. Rather, view delegating as removing tasks from your agenda that you shouldn't be doing.

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So remember, team cohesivity should be a goal, and delegation is one of the most powerful ways to ensure you reach it.

Delegation has many benefits, like streamlining important projects, maximizing your time, and strengthening the skills of your teammates. Avoiding these three common pitfalls of delegation is the key to managing a united team and maintaining a thriving business!

What You Should Do Now

If you need help delegating, here are a few options to help you:

  1. Download our ebook "How to Use Delegation to be a More Impactful Leader" and get a better understanding of what tasks to delegate, how to delegate effectively, and how to create processes that save you time in your delegation.
  2. Book a free consultation call with Prialto. We can help you regain more of your time by offloading repeatable tasks to a fully managed virtual assistant. One of our experts will help you create a plan to delegate your tasks and we will even train your VA for you.
  3. If you know someone else who’d benefit from being a better delegator, share this post with them via email, Linkedin, Twitter, or Facebook.