How to Delegate Tasks Successfully

In: BlogDate: Aug 18, 2020By: Billy Burgess

Many leaders and managers will continually delegate tasks to the person they know will get it right every time, or else give things to a new recruit who’s full of beans and eager to please. But Happy's Cathy Busani knows this practice is flawed and has instead started delegating to the team and allowing them to decide who does what. 

In this two-minute video from the 2018 Happy Workplaces Conference, Cathy explains how to delegate tasks successfully.

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Happy's Cathy Busani: How to Delegate Tasks Successfully

I just wanted to share with you a couple of really practical examples of how you might do something like this. So one of the things we talk quite a lot about, certainly when we’re training leaders and managers, is how to delegate successfully. And there's many steps in which to do, that but one of the things we don't often think about is actually ‘who do we delegate to?’ And for most of us, as leaders, we have that person who always gets it right and we find ourselves being drawn to delegating there. Or that person we can rely on, or maybe that person who feels like they are up and coming, and they're really motivated, and they’d surely be right for it? But actually one of the things that I've been doing over the last year is delegating a task to the team, and letting the team decide who does it. So that's a really simple thing to do, you set the framework, you say what needs to be done, when it needs to be done by, to what you're looking for as the outcomes, and then you just wait to hear who the team have nominated to actually do the work. That's one really great thing that’s made a huge difference in our team. One of the other things that we've been doing at Happy, which has been hugely successful, is many of us spend too much time worrying about job descriptions; when you have this job title you should be doing these tasks. And instead of looking at it like that, we look instead: if you work in this team as a team you need to deliver on these tasks, and as a team you need to decide who is good at what, and therefore who should do which task. As Maureen said in the intro : for me, my aim is to have the teams at Happy be doing 80% of their job that gives them joy. And the only way to do that, is to make sure they are working to their strengths; that they are doing the things that get them up in the morning, that motivate them, that make them want to give you the extra mile. That's how we multiply peoples smarts. It's not by working them harder, because actually when you work to your strengths it's effortless, it’s stress-free.

“[It's] a really simple thing to do,” says Cathy. “You set the framework, you say what needs to be done, when it needs to be done by, what you're looking for as the outcomes, and then you just wait to hear who the team have nominated to actually do the work.”

Happy have also made a conscious effort to remove the fixation on job titles and the tasks implied by any given job description. Instead, at Happy it’s about finding the team members that are best suited to certain roles.

“If you work in this team, as a team you need to deliver on these tasks,” says Cathy. “And as a team you need to decide who is good at what and therefore who should do which task.

“My aim is to have the teams at Happy be doing 80% of their job that gives them joy. And the only way to do that is to make sure they are working to their strengths, that they are doing the things that get them up in the morning, that motivate them, that make them want to give you the extra mile.”

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About Cathy

At Happy since March 1995, Cathy originally started as an IT trainer. Although having little experience in the industry, within just six months she was voted in by the training team as their manager. Shortly after, she took over the role of Managing Director.

Since 2003, Cathy’s focus has been on helping others to feel joyful at work. Through consultancy, a wide range of training programmes, conflict management, executive coaching, and as an impassioned conference speaker, she enables people to be the best version of themselves. She delivers positive organisational change, enabling those she works with to create great workplaces which are happier, more productive and financially secure.

Next Conference: Happy Teams and the Buurtzorg Way

We are very excited to be partnering with Buurtzorg for this online event! If you haven't heard of them, Buurtzorg is a healthcare organisation in the Netherlands with over 15,000 staff that receives top marks from care inspectors and has a current patient satisfaction rating of 9.3. It's also been rated five times as one of the top places to work in the Netherlands. Why? Their staff is made up of hundreds of self-managing teams supported by regional coaches and a back office of just 50 people — with overheads accounting for just 8% of its total costs!

At this workshop from 10am to 4pm on 27th May 2021, you will hear from nurses and a coach working the Buurtzorg way in both Britain and the Netherlands. You will also be introduced to some of the techniques Happy uses for more effective staff involvement in decision-making.

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