People - Top Tips - Delegation


This document is designed as a quick reference guide to delegation

This will enable you to gain knowledge of a particular skill, task or process.

This means you can quickly find the key information that you need and refer to it on an ongoing basis whenever you need to refresh your knowledge.



The most effective, respected, successful leaders realise early on that, just as they themselves must continue to grow, they must help their team members to reach their fullest potential and that this requires ongoing coaching and delegation.

People - Top Tips - Delegation

What you need to know

Delegate to Take Control of Your Time

Delegation helps you by freeing you up to focus on the matters that really do require your attention (this is where itÕs important for good time and stress management). And it helps you develop your people by freeing them up to use their abilities to the greatest extent (this is where itÕs important for effective leadership).


And Delegate to Build Your People

As you probably already know, delegation means giving a certain amount of power to make decisions and complete activities to someone else. What you may not know is that by sharing this responsibility, you enable individuals to grow and to further develop their knowledge, skills and abilities.

Of course, there will be times when, as a leader, you feel that you may save time or effort by simply completing a task or project on your own. After all, by delegating it, you know youÕll have to set aside the time to monitor progress, offer support, communicate, and so on. But, as any successful leader knows, you must resist the urge to do this. Remember that delegation is a short-term pain for a long-term gain!

So, letÕs now have a look at the nuts and bolts of delegation, or the How,

When and Why behind this strong leadership tool.

Perhaps it is best to start by explaining that good delegation (which takes a certain amount of know-how and practice) stimulates your team members, while allowing you to focus on the high value issues that only you can deal with. This is what we are referring to when we say delegation is a strong win-win tool, without which no leader can be truly successful.


People - Top Tips - Delegation

What you need to know

Prepare to Delegate Effectively

Prior to delegating, you need to think the following important things through:


1.   The specifics of the task or job to be delegated.

2.   The experience, knowledge and skills of the individual as they apply to the delegated task.

3.   How this person works best (including what he or she wants from his or her job, how he or she views the work, and so on.)

4.   The current workload of this person.

5.   The projectÕs timelines/deadlines, including:

6.   a) How much time is there available to do the job?

7.   b) Is there time to redo the job if itÕs not done properly the first time?

8.   c) What are the consequences of not completing the job on time?

9.   Resources for this person as he/she works to complete the task.

10.                 Your expectations or goals for the project or task(s), including:

11.                 a) How important is it that the results are of the highest possible quality?

12.                 b) Is an ÒadequateÓ result good enough?

13.                 c) Would a failure be crucial?

14.                 d) How much would failure impact other things?

15.                 The role you play as the person who is delegating in ensuring the projectÕs success, through ongoing monitoring, support, coaching, and the providing of resources, and so on.

16.                 Appropriate mechanisms for controlling the project: For example, precisely when should you set checkpoints and report-backs to make sure that things are going smoothly?

In thoroughly considering these key points prior to delegating, you will find that you will delegate more successfully.


Keeping Effective Control

Now, once you have worked through the above steps, make sure you brief your team member appropriately. Take time to explain why they were chosen for the job, whatÕs expected from them during the project, the goals you have for the project, all timelines and deadlines and the resources on which they can draw. Then agree a schedule for checking-in with progress updates.

Lastly, make sure that the team member is aware that you want to know if any problems occur, and that you are available for any questions or guidance needed as the work progresses.

We all know that as managers, we shouldnÕt micro-manage. However, this doesnÕt mean we must abdicate control altogether: In delegating effectively, we have to find the sometimes-difficult balance between giving enough space for people to use their abilities to best effect, while still monitoring and supporting closely enough to ensure that the job is done correctly and effectively.


Providing that you stick to the checkpoints agreed, you should find out early on, for example, if tasks you are delegating to Team Member A would be better delegated to Team Member B. Alternatively, you may find that the deadlines set for the delegated project are not realistic: This means you have plenty of time either to accelerate the project (for example by allocating more effort to it) or to manage the expectations of the customer of the project to expect a later delivery.


The Importance of Full Acceptance

When delegated work is delivered back to you, set aside enough time to review it thoroughly.

If possible, only accept good quality, fully complete work. If you accept work you are not satisfied with, your team member does not learn to do the job properly.

Worse than this, you accept a whole new load of work that you will probably need to complete yourself. Not only does this overload you, it means that you donÕt have the time to do your own job properly.

Of course, when good work is returned to you, make sure to both recognise and reward the effort.

As a leader, you should get in the practice of complimenting members of your team every time you are impressed by what they have done. This effort on your part will go a long way toward building team memberÕs self-confidence and efficiency, both of which will be improved on the next delegated task; hence, you both win.

Just a word of caution: When you first start to delegate, you may notice that people take longer than you do to complete tasks. This is because you are an expert in the field and the person you have delegated to is still learning. Be patient, for if you have chosen the right person to delegate to, and you are delegating correctly, you will find that he or she quickly becomes competent and reliable.