When used well, Delegation makes the most effective use of your time as a manager/leader and really develops the team around you. Overall it becomes an upward spiral of success. It works all round.

“Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere.”

Ronald Reagan

Top Ten Things About Delegation

In order to leverage your skills to get the best value from them, you need to use your skills to lose some of the stuff that clogs up your time. Here are the ways that the top dogs do this:-

The very best at Delegation:-

  1. Do it Regularly
    They make sure that Delegation is a discipline and they stick to it. In fact, they don’t even think of doing some less valuable things any more at all!
  2. Create Win-Wins
    Where possible, things delegated are of value to both sides – less time for the ‘ace-delegator’ on things they need not do and great development for those on the receiving end. *Note – Delegation does not = Dumping!
  3. Follow it Up
    Where delegation is used constructively, the outcomes, at least to start with, are reviewed to ensure they meet expectations – for both sides.
  4. Are Focused
    By keeping their eye on their own ball, skilled bosses ensure that they are focused on using their valuable time to the best benefit of their business or organisation.
  5. Leverage Value
    …and they spend most of their time where they give the best return. They actively leverage their skills in the released time.
  6. Are Clear on Quality
    When they let things go, they make sure they set criteria for outputs, very clearly to get the right result and to build confidence.
  7. Are Supportive
    By delegating real activities, the best stick around and are available; especially early on, to be there to help, clarify and support.
  8. Watch from a Distance
    … to ensure disasters don’t happen. This is one occasion where they would step in – no point in letting someone suffer a catastrophe.
  9. Stand Back
    They do let go, though – thus encouraging belief in the recipient that they are trusted to do a great job.
  10. Up the Ante
    And they recognise a job well done and step up the challenges to create ongoing growth & development in their team.

Ten Ways to be Better at Delegation

  1. Are You Busy?
    Give some of it up – slowly at first and with good guidance, but take this as a sign.
  2. Listen to Your People
    If you listen closely to your people you will get hints when you can effectively let some things go to them. Hear them bored – or waiting for you – or questioning. That’s a good time to start delegating.
  3. Recognise Potential
    And give the work where it’s got the best chance of success – some of your people will be just right for those pieces of work you’ve been waiting to pass on. This is a place to let the monkey go!
  4. Recruit for Skills
    As you build your team, look both for people experienced in the areas you need support and also people who are energetic and keen to learn. Both of these will be a huge help to you as you give things up.
  5. Value Your Time
    If you’re finding it tough to let go, ask yourself this. ‘Is my time doing some of this stuff valuing me at the rate I’m worth?’ Cool question eh? Brings it home.
  6. Show People How
    Delegation isn’t just about ‘dumping’ the rubbish jobs – anyone can do that. It’s about ensuring that these jobs create value in those doing them too – so take the time; show them the ropes; coach them – then get out of the way!
  7. Be Approachable
    Remember that when people have new tasks, they sometimes take a while to build confidence – so let them ask a second time; let them get it wrong – but if you want this to be successful, welcome them when they are unsure and guide them on.
  8. Recognise Progress
    Touching base with people as they have stuff delegated to them is vital. Remember to thank them for a task completed well.
  9. Think Progress!
    Stand back from using Delegation as a tool and use it strategically to grow your team. Consider what you want them to be like in a year maybe, and pitch delegated work accordingly.
  10. Be Your Role
    And now, the reward. Health Warning! This may be scary for you. Instead of keeping busy doing all that hands on stuff – you now get to be the boss. You get to plan, develop, strategize, vision – all those things which are going to progress your business. WOW!

5 Simple Actions You Can Take Today!

  • Become more aware of others who share their important work with you – watch how well they do it – note the benefits; to them; to you See – it works!
  • Note those things you do, that someone else could and create a plan to give them all away within one week. Take time to plan it and show people what you want. Then plan to delegate more next week & on.
  • Can’t decide? What would you do if you only had half the time (note:- do not think tactical or fire-fighting here – someone else has (or should have) that job).
  • Ask your people what they would like to take on that you do now – where do you get in their way? Let them have it!
  • Encourage this down the line – who can your people share key tasks with? Be the model – help them do this too.
  • Figure out what you can do with all that lovely time. Scared? Don’t be – look for growth opportunities – people; marketing; future things (See ‘Q2 time’ – Begin with the End in Mind Chapter – Covey’s Seven habits).

Read some great books – like

“The One Minute Manager” – Ken Blanchard
“Real Delegation: How to Get People to Do Things for You – and Do Them Well” – Karen Smart
“How to Delegate (Essential Managers Series)” – Robert Heller & Tim Hindle