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How to Delegate Success With a Distributed Team

Disclaimer: We have offices in London and Tel Aviv. And it’s tough. In fact, if you truly want your distributed team to succeed these are essential considerations.

Rule #1 – you can’t have oversight on everything. Trust your team. Delegating tasks within your distributed team is just one classic example of how a manager can put a hierarchical structure to good use and get the best from his or her team. Not only can you delegate tasks and projects, but you can also ensure everybody knows and understands the role and jobs they have been assigned.

Managing a distributed team

photo credit: Marie Coleman

Why Is Delegating So Difficult?

Many people experience a mental block when it comes to delegation and even more so when it comes to managing distributed or virtual teams. Perhaps you feel that nobody can do the job as well as you. Perhaps you feel you don’t have time to micromanage your team. Or maybe you are finding it hard for somebody else to get the credit.

But ask yourself why you created a distributed team in the first place. Most people do this to save money, save time and to increase productivity. However, if not managed correctly, the team you spent so much time cultivating can start to break down, disband and ultimately cause damage to your business and reputation.

Take A Fresh Approach To Delegation

If you really want to get the most from your distributed team, it’s time to forget any misgivings you have about delegation and follow some of the guidelines below.

The Power Of 1:1s

Whilst you may not be in the same office or even timezone as your distributed employees, you can still arrange 1:1s with them. A regular 1:1 will help you to get to know your team members on an individual basis. These meetings can also help to establish trust and also to find out where that individual’s strengths and weaknesses lie. Establishing these facts can help you to effectively delegate your projects with confidence. Make use of tools such as Basecamp, Trello and VOIP.

Track Time – Yours And Theirs

Time is of the essence when managing a distributed team. You want to be sure you are not spending too much time micromanaging and you also need to be sure your team is working in a productive manner and hitting their targets. By assigning tasks personally to your team members, setting objectives and actively monitoring how they handle their time, you can ensure you meet deadlines and that problems are spotted early on.

A time management system and a collaborative software platform such as Microsoft SharePoint can help you to track time and also assign tasks and help your teams to work in harmony whether they are all in the same location or spread out across the globe.

Choose The Right Tasks To Delegate

It is true that not all tasks can be delegated, but those that can should have the following qualities:

  • Can be broken down into trackable tasks
  • Has a set deadline
  • Completing the task would save time and enhance productivity
  • The task is one that would benefit somebody else from learning

Start Small When Delegating

If you are a bit worried about handing over control to your distributed team members, start small. Pick tasks with minimal risk and low impact if things go wrong. You need delegation to work in the long-term and by gaining trust and making your team self sufficient in getting the job done, you can achieve total confidence in their abilities.

Create A Plan Before You Delegate Anything

Before delegating a task, ensure you know what the timeline and deliverables will be. Think about the skills each member of your team has and assign the task to the most suitable team member.

Meetings should also form part of your plan whether they are in person, over the phone or via a video link. Communication is so important when delegating tasks and projects.

Delegation Could Be The Key To Your Success

By assigning the right tasks across your distributed team, you can reduce the amount of time you are spending on the smaller tasks and start focusing on being more proactive, winning over new clients or growing your business.

About the author: Daniel Abrahams is the Co-Founder at CurrencyTransfer.com and MyCurrencyTransfer, a marketplace matching individuals and businesses with the most competitive foreign exchange deals. Recently, Daniel represented the UK at SXSW in Austin, as part of a UKTI trade mission. You can follow Daniel on Twitter.

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