The problem many people have when they make that first step up to become a manager is that they try to take on the world by doing everything themselves. It’s not long before you realise that doing everything yourself is simply not practical – even if it is you that gets the blame if things aren’t done properly or targets are not hit. In this article we’re going to look at why it’s so important for managers to document tasks that are delegated out across the workforce.

Efficiency and time management

If everyone is pulling in the same direction but employees are overlapping in what they’re doing, your workforce simply isn’t working as efficiently as it could be. It’s important that everyone is pulling in the right direction, but you need to make sure everyone is assigned their own individual task – thus helping you get the most out of your workforce. This idea is backed up by a post over at the Harvard Business Review:

“Collaboration improves when the roles of individual team members are clearly defined and well understood — in fact, when individuals feel their role is bounded in ways that allow them to do a significant portion of their work independently. Without such clarity, team members are likely to waste energy negotiating roles or protecting turf, rather than focusing on the task.”

Employees will receive a sense of empowerment when tasks are delegated to them – they’ll also feel a sense of responsibility, they won’t want to be the person who lets the rest of the team down by not pulling their weight. By delegating tasks to members of your team there will also be a reinforced sense of recognition when things go right and targets are met.

It’s essential that you translate organisational or team goals into achievable tasks that can be clearly understood and executed by your team. If everyone sticks to their end of the deal by working to the tasks you’ve set them, in theory the targets should be met. It’s important to write the targets down and present them to employees – via email or even in person. Go through the targets with employees and explain in detail why you’ve set that target for that person – if they know reasoning behind your decisions there’s a much higher chance that they’ll work when completing the tasks you’ve assigned to them.

Taking responsibility

Some people out there take responsibility willingly (usually) – some people shy away from taking responsibility and protest that nothing is ever their fault. A group of employees who can’t stand up and take collective responsibility for a task not being completed correctly cannot be considered a team. As the manager you’re responsible for what happens on your watch, which is why it’s so important to pay close attention to what your team are doing.

As a manager you’ll have good months and bad months; senior managers will know that sometimes external factors are such that targets simply can’t be hit. What documenting tasks does is that it allows you to dissect the failings and work out exactly who in your team is responsible – you can then work closely with them in order to stop a reoccurrence.

Documenting what your team does helps to improve productivity by ensuring everyone is doing their own unique tasks when working towards common goals. It also helps to improve accountability within your team – if X task isn’t completely properly all you have to look at is the document where you wrote down the tasks everyone was delegated, you’ll then find the culprit fairly easily.