Delegation can be disappointing at times. It can result in poor performance, misunderstandings, and sometimes more responsibility on your plate in the end.

To create growth, you must learn how to delegate effectively. Whether you are the head of a team within a corporate structure or a start up entrepreneur... effective delegation creates meaningful growth, reduces stress and brings individuals together to work towards one vision. 

Here are five key elements to effective delegation:

1. Task vs. Responsibility

Be clear on what you are delegating.

Are you handing off a set of tasks? For example, a list of errands, document filing, call confirmations, organizing materials are all tasks where the individual doing them only needs to know the desired result.

On the other hand if you are delegating an ongoing responsibility, you need to hand off authority to the person to make decisions. This is where most delegation quickly becomes ineffective and results in disappointment.

When you hand off a responsibility and communicate it as though it is a task... the person gets to a point where they do not have the authority to make decisions, they do not know how to make a decision and do not have enough information to make a decision. 

Get clear on whether you are handing off a task or giving someone an ongoing responsibility.

2. Transparency

If you are handing off a task, provide them with resources to achieve the desired result. If you are limited in resources and you need them to get creative on how to achieve the result, be transparent on what resources are available and not available. Let them know they need to achieve the result in their own way.

The more transparent you are, the easier it will be for the person taking on the task to use their unique skills to achieve a result that will delight you.

If you are handing off an ongoing responsibility, be transparent on your process when you were managing the responsibility, including mistakes you've made, techniques that worked, and resources you had and didn't have available.

Be transparent on areas that you can assist and not assist with.

The person needs to know exactly what the landscape of their responsibility looks like as you are handing it over, what the landscape has been through to get to where it is today, and where you want them to take it next.

3. Clear boundaries 

If you are handing off a task, clear boundaries can include things like, deadlines, time limits, geographic constraints, or mistakes they must avoid to keep their position.

If you are handing off an ongoing responsibility, clear boundaries can include decisions the person cannot make without approval, techniques / words / resources they absolutely cannot use in their position, or failures they must avoid to keep their position.

Communicating boundaries means being specific about limits.

4. Freedom

Do not forget: you need to remove yourself from the process. Give the person freedom to perform.

Along with freedom to perform comes freedom to make mistakes. Allow room for the person to make mistakes. Let them know the clear boundaries around what mistakes cannot be made.

To create this environment, have a conversation around what happens when mistakes are made and who cleans up which mistakes. Some mistakes can and should be cleaned up by the person who made them and other mistakes need to be cleaned up with the guidance of a superior. 

The freedom you give when you delegate will allow them to earn your trust. You can start off small by handing off small tasks / responsibilities and then larger ones.

Without freedom, the person will not have room to use their innate creativity and delight you.

5. Vision

You know you've mastered the first four elements when you are able to graduate someone from tasks and responsibilities to co-creating vision with you.

Vision needs to be clear to you and your team.

This includes personal and business values, budget, financial growth expectations, historical growth data, the emotions behind the business's mission, and the core client's mindset, to name a few.

Vision is in constant evolution. The more your vision is shared with your team, the easier it will be for them to be a part of its evolution.

Published on: Jun 7, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.