Task setting and delegating are probably the most important things that you will need to do as a remote manager. I mean hey, if you’re not doing that, then you’re not really managing! Everyone has to do it, and there are a lot of different ways to get it done. You create a task, assign it to someone, and make sure to set a deadline. Your team then completes the work and sends you the finished result. Sounds easy right? If only!
What seems like a simple process actually has a lot of places where things can go wrong. Your team might not fully understand the task. You may even delegate it to the wrong person. Or you might end up using the wrong method of communication to set the task. Don’t worry there, we’ve teamed up with Remote-how to got you covered with all the best tips, tricks, and strategies in the remote playbook to help you master the art with ease.
Explore some tools that could work for your team
If you simply set a task via email, call, or IM, then there’s a lot of room for people to forget the details after your initial first contact. The tasks may also involve other people on your team, and they can easily get left out of a critical message or status update because they weren’t CC’ed in an email or included in a group message. How do we fix this then?
Use a task setting and project management tool of course! There are an absolute heap to use, from the more well known like Asana through other smaller competitors. You can actually take a look at our list of the best ones here if you want to do some research.
Use the right type of communication in your delegation
If you’re setting tasks in a remote team, then there’s a good chance that not everyone will be online at the same time. This could be due to people being based all around the globe, people travelling (if they’re lucky enough to be a digital nomad!), or just because you offer flexible working hours.
Setting up a task using synchronous communication like instant messaging just isn’t going to cut it. Write out all the details, send it in an email and preferably in a project management tool, then follow up with some synchronous communication for them to get back to you when they can. Don’t fret if people aren’t always contactable when you need them as well! This is remote work, so it’s a part of the game and should be worked into your plan.
Utilize a good delegation framework
Delegating isn’t simply setting tasks. You also need to think about what everyone already has on their plate and whether that task is suited to that person. Your goal as a manager is to unblock people’s problems and support them. What isn’t such a good idea is taking on everybody’s problems yourself and making yourself too busy to do your actual job: managing a remote team! That’s why we recommend using a robust delegation framework. Take a look at all your team’s tasks in the following way:
- How long will the task take?
- Will this task need to be repeated?
- Is there enough context for your team/team member to complete the task?
- Who is best suited to take it on?
- Will your delegated team/team members learn enough from the task to make it worthwhile?
If you or your team are asking for help on a certain piece of work or project, work through the questions above. If it doesn’t take long, then you can probably do it yourself. This is even more relevant if it’s not something that is likely to be repeated. If it needs to be done over and over again, then delegating it to someone will save you precious time and effort. Make sure the chosen person/people also feels empowered to do it and make sure to make them feel confident!
Make sure you also give your team the context they need to complete the task themselves. If you can’t, then it’s probably something worth doing yourself. Finally, look at what skillsets each person has that you are managing. Not everyone is suited for all types of work, and it may be that you actually are the best person for the job. Don’t just give it to the first person available because they’re online, as this might actually be more of a waste of time than choosing the right person from the beginning!
So now you’ve delegated, what comes next?
Delegating your tasks efficiently and successfully is one of the basic tools in a remote managers arsenal. Now that you’ve got some great strategies to implement, what’s next? Well… actually an awful lot! This is just one area you need to get to grips with, but it’s not all doom and gloom.
Becoming a better remote manager is super rewarding, as you’re helping other people realize their remote dreams and goals! If you want to make the most of the opportunity, then take a look at Certified in Distributed Management program run by Remote-how. With lectures, webinars, and lessons from top remote management experts, you’re really in the best hands with this program.