Project Management

How to Delegate to Difficult Employees

Delegating tasks to team members is not as easy as you think, especially when you have a few difficult-to-handle individuals in your team. If you don’t distribute tasks properly and justifiably to your team members, envy and conflicts can arise, which will damage your credibility and prestige. Christine Sato, in writing for Project Times, says that delegation is an essential part of life, especially in the business world, but it can also be a challenge. She share a few tips to ensure that assigned tasks get completed:

  1. Provide clear and concise directions.
  2. Tailor tasks to different personalities.
  3. Give ownership of the task.
  4. Set firm timelines and document everything.

Delegating with Strategy

Delegation is a key skill for effective leaders who simply don’t have enough time to do everything by themselves. However, delegation isn’t about freeing yourself from tasks that are beneath your pay. It’s about providing a clear and concrete direction for your team members and make them feel privileged to be able to share the work with you. You can’t just throw random tasks at your members like free giveaways, because it will turn into a mess filled with frustration and blaming later. Especially for difficult employees who are likely to find fault with everything you do, you need to give crystal-clear instructions in order to avoid any other way of interpretation. It’s important for them to know their responsibility rather than a specific procedure. By that, they will be aware of the goals, purpose, requirements, and end results that you expect.

When you work with a group of different employees, it is natural that they bring in different skills and have different passions. Find out what they love to do and what they do best so that you know which task is best completed by which individual. If employees are able to do what they love and given the opportunity to shine, you don’t even need to supervise them. Going along with that, let your team “own” the tasks delegated and have credits for what they do. Don’t give them some work that you’ll assume control over later.

The last thing you must not forget is to be clear about due dates to avoid more blaming:

You need to keep track of every conversation you have with a difficult person about delegated duties. Follow up with an email that reiterates what you just discussed. Ensure your employee knows they can come to you for further guidance or questions. By documenting the steps, you take to ensure communication is clear you will be able to have a reference that can back up your claims if your difficult employee fails to do his or her task or tries to shift blame.

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