By Jim Wong, CPA | August 19, 2015


“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.” — John C. Maxwell

Most managers or leaders would agree that delegating tasks helps balance their workload and frees up time for larger-scale strategy, all the while empowering others. However, not all managers or leaders are comfortable relinquishing control over important projects and tasks. When it comes to the accounting, finance and IT professions, especially, the changing revenue standards, ongoing data security measures and technology advancements leave managers and leaders sometimes hesitant to pass along tasks, and as a result take on too much.

However, delegation is a critical skill and the most effective managers and leaders need to be experts.

So, as the To-do lists pile up, it’s best to prevent burnout by trusting your team members with projects and tasks you can safely take off your plate. Alternately, your colleagues aim to benefit by learning new skills, developing their personal work styles and building decisive dexterities.

Forbes addresses the topic in an article from a couple years ago that still rings true to effectiveness in leadership today. I highlighted a few pointers and added a few tips of my own in the 5 Ways Leaders Can Delegate More Effectively below.

1. Identify the appropriate tasks to delegate.

It’s important to differentiate between the tasks that only you have the abilities to complete and projects that can be handed over to someone else. Rather than letting a data entry project fall behind; delegate that project to a team member who has expressed interest in the project or who has quick Excel skills. Your time as a manager or leader should be reserved for projects that are at a higher level. Your team will also see that you’re encouraging productivity and trusting them.

2. Know which colleagues to choose.

It’s important to know that you can’t delegate just any task to any person. Look for team players who are eager and motivated to learn new things. Just because someone’s workload is light, doesn’t mean they’re the best person for the project at hand. Assess the characteristics and experience of each individual and ascertain who could appropriately take on the job.

3. Trust without micromanaging.

Once you assess the bandwidth of your team members, trust your decision. It can sometimes be difficult to know how much or how little instruction to provide when explaining a task. However, know what the person is capable of and steer clear of micromanaging them. It not only diminishes his or her perception of your trust in their abilities, but it also prevents them from using their own judgment to accomplish a goal. At the same time, it’s essential to make sure the colleague understands your objective and any deadlines clearly before they begin. So, you’ll need to create a good balance.

4. Be accessible.

Colleagues should know that there is an open line of communication to you while they’re working on a project that’s been delegated to them. Allow colleagues to come to you with questions about the project, as well as be open to any comments and suggestions they may have regarding the project. It’s also important for your team members to know that they can make a mistake. As long as they’re upfront and honest and learn from the error, it’ll benefit them in the long run.

5. Express your appreciation.

Effective delegation is a two-way street. Not only should you thank your colleagues and provide any criticism, if necessary, but you should also be sure to ask them for feedback on how you can improve the process the next time. Building this type of rapport will build trust among the team and will make for easier delegating in the future.

Delegation not only helps you work more effectively while developing the skills and experience of your colleagues, but it also shows you who has the potential to be a valuable leader in the future. Delegation is a vital tool for productivity in the workplace. Be sure to utilize your team members to their full potential and allow the process to be a helpful one for all involved.

What are some other ways for accounting, finance and IT managers and leaders to delegate more effectively? Comment below and let us know!


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