During Women’s History Month this year, we look at how women in the workplace can better delegate responsibilities and duties. Delegating in the office can be a delicate balance of being assertive and direct but also gracious and understanding of other’s needs. It is important to remember that delegating is not a sign of weakness, but rather an opportunity to empower your colleagues.
When delegating, be sure to include clear instructions on how the project should be carried out. Assume the person does not know anything about the task at hand and provide them with the tools necessary to complete the task at-hand. It may also be wise to provide step-by-step instructions as well. If you already have these instructions in place, you will be able to have them ready should another such task be required of the same person or someone else.
According to an article in Diversity Woman Media, to help overcome cultural barriers to effective delegation, Kim-Yen Huynh, Senior Vice President of Marketing at First Vietnamese American Bank in Westminster, California, and founder and president of the Asian American Women Business Association, advises women to believe in their own abilities as well as their capacity to be successful. “It doesn’t matter if you are black or yellow, if you do things right and demonstrate self-confidence, you will be looked at as a leader.”
If you are new to delegating tasks, for several reasons, do not be concerned. There are several ways to ease into the habit of delegating. For example, take a small step in this direction by assigning a small task that is not time sensitive. This will be a great way to introduce you to the process and allow you to practice asking for help.
When starting out, you will also want to begin with the employees that you trust the most. When considering who to ask, consider who has the skills or experience, who needs the developmental experience, who has the time now, or could make the time by delegating something currently on their plate? Who would like to have this opportunity? Once you have this person in place, practice delegating and before long you will be able to tackle your to-do lists in a more efficient way.
-Dina Barabash, NASBA Content Development & Web Specialist