Skip to content

Masterful Delegation: Expanding Your Capacity, Improving Productivity, and Saving Your Health

If you delegate that task away, what will keep you busy? Will you be giving away things you like to do? Will others do an excellent job with the delegated task? Will others think you’re lazy or irresponsible? Click the links below to read more.

Delegation is more than just dumping a task on another person. It’s an adaptive skill that few do well or even do at all. As a result, they limit their personal potential and that of the organization.

Here are some tips on excellence in delegating (click the links below):

Excuses for not delegating

You’ve heard and probably used the excuses for not delegating:

  • If you want anything done right, do it yourself.
  • It’s easier just to do it myself and besides, I like doing it.
  • It will take less time if I just go ahead and do it myself.
  • They won’t do it like I do it.

Delegation in Small Businesses and Startups

Delegation seems particularly difficult for small businesses and startups. Business resources are limited, and you have little choice but to do “everything” yourself. But, if your business is to grow, you must create room in your attention, time, and energy resources ahead of the growth. Delegation is one key way to make this room. This can be tricky since delegation requires people resources and financial resources that may be tight in any growth stage, much less near the beginning. You may have to live a little on the edge with this.

When the resources for delegation are available, you may be reluctant to delegate since the tasks are such an emotional part of “your baby” (the business you started and nurtured) and you feel a need to care for it (see above – Excuses for Not Delegating). But, if you don’t delegate, you will become a bottleneck in the organization and you will be restricting the growth of “your baby.” Excellent managers and executives delegate work so they will have the room in time and energy to do what only they can do.

How do you know if you need to delegate more?
You need to delegate more if you . . .

Feel you are . . .

  • Are overworked, and your employees stand around a lot.
  • Under constant pressure and stress.
  • Indispensable.
  • Bored/not challenged.

Are busy with . . .

  • Routine or technical tasks.
  • Rescuing others by performing their assigned tasks.

Find yourself . . .

  • Missing important opportunities.
  • Taking work home regularly.
  • Pressured by an overflowing email box.
  • Having difficulty meeting deadlines.
  • Making all decisions so direct reports must seek your approval before acting.

Your team is . . .

  • Bored or not challenged.

Go ahead and check the boxes that fit your situation. I’ll bet you could delegate more.

Delegation is truly a skill that can be finely honed to give you more capacity for the things only you can do, seeing the bigger picture, and taking advantage of important opportunities.

How to delegate effectively

  1. Discover what can be delegated. What tasks mental, manual, clerical or otherwise are you doing that only you can do? Do only those things and Delegate the rest.
  2. Discover to whom you can effectively delegate a task. Be sure they have the skill sets and other capabilities needed to accomplish the task.
  3. Schedule a meeting (Don’t do this through email. Get face-to-face.)
  4. Make very clear . . .
    • The importance of the project to goals/mission of your organization
    • Boundaries by defining scope of work
    • The reason you are delegating to them specifically
    • Desired Expectations and Outcomes. Give the what, not how.
    • Roles and responsibilities related to the delegated task
    • Give clear instructions
  5. Delegate full authority along with the above responsibilities.
  6. Make the channels of accountability clear
  7. Involve the team member
    • Invite their ideas
    • Collaborate on deadline
    • Build in check points for progress
    • Identify support needed
  8. Verify understanding of assignments and expectations
  9. Get a commitment
  10. Begin the task and follow-up according to plan. Support and encourage the individual(s) who have received the delegation. Avoid the question, “Is it done yet?”
  11. Modify as needed.
  12. Evaluate — When evaluating the performance of the person to whom you have delegated, offer constructive criticism, criticizing actions and not the person. Give credit where it is due. Reflect on the experience and ask, “How did we do?” and “What would we do differently next time?”

Failure to do any of the above can lead to a poor process and product.

Delegation and Micro-management

Delegation can be micromanaged, at which time it is no longer delegation. Responsibility, authority, and control is not relinquished. It’s just having someone carry out your detailed wants and wishes.

Some get frustrated and cry “micromanagement” when the supervisor does follow-ups, asks about progress, or makes suggestions. This is not micro-management. It is good delegation practice.

Micro-management is when the delegator never really delegates authority or responsibility for a task/project. The delegator still supervises in a way that tells the person receiving the delegation what and how to do most every aspect of the project.

When a problem rises, get a summary of the problem, work together on a solution, give time for things to get clear. Then, delegate the corrective action and guard against “reverse delegation” – don’t take over the task or project yourself.

So, delegate more and grow your business, personal capacity, and personal success!
What holds you back?

Support for Effective Delegation
For more support in effective delegation, contact us today!

Back To Top