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When Delegating, Be as Clear as Possible

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As a manager, you can’t have your hand in every single project. That’s why you need to delegate. But too often, people pass on poorly defined tasks and responsibilities and aren’t clear about their expectations, leaving the person on the receiving end to sort out a mess. If you want to delegate effectively, first take the time to think through what success would look like. Then communicate clearly with your colleague about what you are hoping the outcome of the work will be. Do you have something specific in mind or are there a range of acceptable results? Explain how you will evaluate both progress and the end result and whether there are certain milestones the person should hit along the way. You also want to clarify how the task you’re delegating connects to your team’s larger goals. If it’s one small part of a project, for example, explain how it fits into the whole. Once you’ve done all that, ask the person to sum up what they heard you request. You could even ask them to send you a summary in an email so that you capture their understanding — and correct it, if necessary. Taking these steps will help you delegate in a way that delivers the results you’re hoping for.

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