Deena Anreise, the Marketing Manager for Prialto, contributed this post.
Take it away, Deena!
Teamwork is the cornerstone of every successful business, but achieving team cohesiveness 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 value tasks.
Nick’s Notes: This is the first type of outsourcing, and is far easier to set both yourself and your assistant up for success.
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 is sometimes easier said than done.
Here are 3 of the most common pitfalls that leaders fall into when delegating — and how to avoid them.
PITFALL #1: Inhibiting
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, to 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.
PITFALL #2: Micromanaging
Micromanaging is an undesirable behavior for two reasons.
First, it shows a lack of trust in your workers to do their job, and second, it bogs you down with minutia when you should strive to have a clean plate so you are able to focus on bigger issues.
Provide a clear vision and expected outcome for the work, and be available to answer questions, but let your team actually do the work without meddling.
Nick’s Notes: For more in-depth tasks, I try to explain the project as best I can, and then ask for a progress report check-in at maybe 10% of completion to make sure my assistant is on the right track.
Solution: Trust your team.
You gave them their job for a reason; give them some 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.
Nick’s Notes: In my case, I was really frustrated when my first VA couldn’t seem to get it right. I totally took for granted that I’d been doing the task I’d assigned for years and it was second nature to me. There’s always going to be a learning curve.
Remember the 10/80/10 rule of outsourcing.
PITFALL #3: Over-Assigning
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, because 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 work you should be doing.
Rather, view delegating as removing tasks from your agenda that you shouldn’t be doing.
Nick’s Notes: I usually fall in the opposite camp of having a hard time letting go of tasks!
Team cohesiveness should be a goal, and delegation is one of the most powerful ways to ensure you reach it. Avoiding these three common pitfalls of delegation is the key to managing a united team and maintaining a thriving business!