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The Importance of Task Delegation

Delegate

13 May, 2020

Stefan Gruber, VP of Engineering at Bitmovin, emphasizes the importance of task delegation as a key time management skill.

Problem

I was approached by a team leader who recently transitioned to a Director position. At his new position, he not only had direct reports but also team leaders reporting to him. It took him a while to adjust to changes this transition implied and most importantly to differentiate what he should focus on and do it by himself and what he should delegate. He soon reached a point when he was feeling overwhelmed and demotivated. He was working 60 hours per week and still felt like he was not doing enough.
 

Actions taken

First off, I tried to identify all the tasks he was working on in one week. We listed all the tasked and then discussed which of these items require his personal involvement and which could be delegated to someone else. In addition to making the list of all the tasks, I asked him to record all the work he did in a week. Many items from that list would be overlooked if not written down. We also agreed that there are some tasks that didn’t require his personal involvement but were not worth delegating since they were not time-consuming.
 

The next step was actually delegating tasks and keeping records of it. I explained to him that he needs to have some monitoring procedures in place to ensure that delegated tasks are completed. I instructed him to be careful about this because without solid monitoring procedures, he will lose track of what was executed and what was not, and things will come back again to him.
 

Lessons learned

  • Don’t wait until one of your employees becomes overwhelmed with the workload to check if s/he is comfortable with delegating tasks. In this particular case, I was approached long after the problem emerged and after it already took its toll. If I knew for the problem before I could have helped him sooner.
  • Monitoring the execution of delegated tasks is a crucial part of the delegation process. I personally set reminders and rely on calendar entries but any system that can help you keep the track can be used.

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