Many a time there is confusion whether we are genuinely delegating or knowingly or unknowingly merely tasking when we thought we were delegating.
Tasking is merely asking a person to do what he is already adept at and perhaps has been doing day-in-day-out. This is one of the ‘business-as-usual’ situations; he would perform the tasks, do it effectively and efficiently within the agreed parameters and deliver it to you. He would perhaps not even know his just-concluded piece of the task was part of. Or in other words, the focus of the leader is on the task. He assigns the task to that person whose job description already includes that task, and he has been doing it regularly. He would again do it and do it well to the comfort of the task-assigner.
However, delegation is the process of empowering. Letting the team member know the big picture and how he would be contributing to that by accomplishing the piece that he has been delegated. It involves making the tools and resources available and letting him understand the deliverables, timelines and the constraints. Here onwards, the team member takes over and is expected to deliver. He would come back to you on his own if he needed some help or clarification.
In contrast to the ‘tasking’ leader, the ‘delegating’ leader focuses on the growth areas for his team member. Maybe the team member is venturing into areas new for him, being groomed to take over some of your responsibilities to free you for even greater ones. All in all, it should be more exciting for him and more rewarding for you if you could move from just delegating to genuine delegating.