If you don’t feel like reading, then the short answer is to make them do what they are good at doing. However, the path towards attaining that ideal is a tricky one which a lot of managers often fail in achieving. When you attain a position of leadership in an environment which requires tasks to be done correctly and on time, you will need to optimize the output of the people who are working under you. No matter how well you can manage and escalate tasks towards completion, without thoroughly analyzing the strengths of those who you manage, you will never reach an ‘optimized’ level of completion.
Current-day managerial practices may be better suited for a world in which artificial intelligence governs the completion of all work. However, in the current climate (2018 for those reading in the future) the analysis of human beings is a forgotten managerial art.
They Will Gravitate Towards What They Are Good At
You team members are all human beings, and human beings like doing things which they are good at doing. The people on your team will have differing levels of interest in different aspects of the work they do. In order to successfully assign tasks in the workplace, you need to first get a baseline level of interest. When getting to know your team members and collecting initial information about their tendencies, likes, dislikes, and skills, you should take a step back while maintaining a watchful approach.
Give your team the ability of dispersing smaller tasks of a bigger whole themselves. Let them divide up some tasks in order to see which people gravitate towards which tasks. The selection of tasks will give you an idea of who has an interest in what. However, you should remember that interest and skill do not always correlate, so you should keep an eye out for what people are actually good at. The selection of tasks will give you a head-start on that process, but won’t complete it for you.
As a manger, you need to notice the tendencies of your team members. Who is good at speaking with stakeholders and managing their expectation? Who is better at working in excel sheets accurately and effectively? If you take a watchful approach, these things are not hard to notice and note down. Know your team members inside out, and plan task allocation according to these strengths.
Don’t Be Afraid of Giving Ownership
Once you have studied your team members and know them well, you will need to begin the process of assigning tasks to them. The milestones you have in front of you will take a multitude of pieces coming together in order to achieve. Managers often make the critical mistake of not allowing their team members own a series of related tasks. If you have determined that a certain person is good at one specific area of the broader milestone at hand, then you need to let them own that general area.
Break down your milestone into areas which can be owned by your team members. The ownership of these areas will not only utilize their skills to the highest degree, but also serve to motivate their work towards achieving good results. The difference ownership/responsibility of work areas makes is that the work is done to be impressive rather than merely complete.
Inspect what your team members are interested and good at, then allow them to own those areas. These different areas will come together in an optimized but unsystematic fashion, however, humans do not operate in a systematic manner anyway.
Become good at reading the skill levels of others within all the niches that you work amidst. It is what will set you apart from other managers who systematically divide up work without taking into effect the people who will be doing it.