Feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities and expectations others have of you in the workplace? Oftentimes those in leadership positions are consumed with numerous tasks and job roles. Yet, some assignments that can be entrusted to other coworkers are not being delegated. Sharing responsibilities is essential in leadership to help alleviate workload, allowing more time for important matters that cannot be taken care of by others. 


1. Be precise when describing tasks that need to be accomplished. When delegating it’s important to be specific on what’s expected of the individual. For example: Sally, I need you to contact the phone company regarding an error showing in our phone bill this month. Our company account number and information you may need is attached to the original bill. Please contact the phone company, and get back to me today by 2:00p.m with updates on the matter.

2. Be clear on expected deadlines. Provide deadlines that are within a reasonable timeframe. This gives employees time to prepare and plan accordingly. Please see example above.

3. Define the job culture. Employees should have a clear understanding of “who to go to” with any given situation. Some companies have set departments, while others have a chain-of-command. Each job culture varies, yet employees should be aware of what’s expected of them.

4. Plan team meetings. Scheduling meetings is a great way to evaluate each team member’s progress, ask questions, and share concerns. It offers everyone the opportunity to voice his or her perspective and to brainstorm ideas. It also allows team leaders to reexamine the course of action if outcomes are not as anticipated.  

5. Avoid delegating assignments that are beyond the employee’s scope or skills. Some occupations require licensure or certifications to perform specific job duties. Familiarize yourself with employee positions and job roles to ensure delegation falls within their skills and scope of practice. 

6. Remain flexible and supportive. This may be a new responsibility for some employees, which may take time and practice to master. You can show support by answering questions and being accessible for help if needed. Patience and support from leaders is crucial.

7. Define responsibility. Some job roles can be delegated without any shared responsibility, while others cannot. For example, a Registered Nurse can delegate a nursing assistant to take a blood pressure reading on her client, yet if the job is not done the responsibility falls on the nurse in charge of the client. In this case the responsibility is on the Registered Nurse who’s been assigned to care for the client, not on the nursing assistant. Always keep in mind your occupational responsibilities and scope of practice when delegating work assignments.

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