The importance of delegating leadership (and how to properly delegate)

In today’s challenging business world, organisational success relies on the expertise and experience of all employees, not just the manager or team leader. Gone are the days when only the team leader holds the authority and power to delegate tasks, make decisions, and hold others accountable. Business is now all about empowering employees and the best way to do that is to delegate leadership duties to them.

Essential leadership duties

Delegating leadership duties helps you create a high-performing team that can tackle major issues and get results, as well as grow a profitable, sustainable business. This is especially important when businesses have to deal with multiple stakeholders and greater competition, as well as the integration of technology into the workplace. Businesses need multiple leaders who possess the skills and abilities required to get the job done successfully.

Before you delegate leadership duties, here’s a look at the essential duties of a leader:

  • Building trust by having your teamwork on a project together and assigning tasks to each person that are within their capabilities, or by encouraging your team to eat lunch together. This’ll help your team get to know you and each other and develop trust.
  • Creating a shared vision by letting your team know what the organisation’s goals are and what they must do together to achieve those goals. This’ll ensure that everyone’s on the same page.
  • Executing a strategy all the way through to completion, with and through others, using disciplined processes.
  • Creating accountability by assigning tasks that take into account the skills and tools each person has to get the job done. If someone performs more poorly than what you expect from them, you can hold them accountable.
  • Coaching your team by discussing work progress and giving them feedback. This’ll help you improve your team’s work performance, solve problems, and achieve the results you expect.

The benefits of delegating leadership duties

Delegating leadership duties provides a range of benefits for your organisation, such as:

1. Sharing responsibility

By allowing your team to take on responsibilities, like taking ownership of their work and holding themselves accountable for the quality and timeliness of their work, it’ll motivate them to get things done. What’s more, you’ll spend less time directing your team’s projects and instead have more time focusing on the bigger picture, which is achieving the company’s goals.

2. Creation of more ideas

Holding meetings where every member of your team can voice their thoughts and opinions about their work or the organisation as a whole can help generate more ideas. The best ideas often come from those working at the ground level, so allowing your team to share new ideas is beneficial for your business.

3. Increases team performance

Each member of your team will have skills, knowledge, and experience that no one else has. When leadership is shared among them, they’ll all act as leaders and followers at different times. As a result, shared leadership allows your team to leverage the expertise of each member at different times and in different ways, boosting team performance.

4. Creates team bonds

When your team works together on a project and each person takes turns leading others, this’ll help create bonds of interdependence and your team may end up favouring teamwork. Instead of solely depending on you to lead them and assign them tasks, they’ll also rely on others, bringing everyone closer together.

5. Promotes commitment and satisfaction

Letting your team members take on the duties of a leader, such as creating and executing a vision and strategy, will promote committed behaviour. Plus, when considering a mission greater than themselves, they’ll feel empowered to bring out their best. Giving your team the freedom and ability to speak out during shared leadership activities will also increase employee satisfaction and identification with the company.

6. Desire business growth

When business goals are achieved through shared leadership, your team will recognise each person’s contribution to that success, which could make them actively desire growth for the organisation. This is very important as it could lead to greater success not only for the business, but also for you and your team.

How to share/delegate leadership duties

  • Get your team to share new ideas.
  • Allow your team to implement necessary changes.
  • Let your team make decisions on their own.
  • Allow your team to delegate tasks and hold each other accountable.
  • Create a climate in which your team feels free to take the initiative on assignments.
  • Give power to the most qualified members in order to strengthen their capabilities.
  • Give qualified members discretion and autonomy over their tasks and resources and encourage them to use the tools at their disposal.
  • Think of yourself as a resource or cheerleader rather than the manager or boss.
  • Empower your team to challenge and question the status quo.
  • Trust your team’s judgement and expertise.
  • Appreciate the effort your team gives, the energy they invest in a project, and the risk they take by leading.
  • Let members of your team contribute what they do best, whether it’s dealing with technology or partnerships.

Empower your employees to become leaders with DeakinCo.

Shared leadership will bring a plethora of benefits to your workplace, so follow these tips and start delegating leadership duties today. Your business will reap the rewards in no time.

Creating an environment where employees feel empowered is essential for improving business success. You can continue to improve your team’s learning and development with the solutions offered by DeakinCo. Contact us today for more information.

To delegate is to assign responsibility and authority to someone else in order to complete the task at hand but you retain the overall responsibility for its success. Delegation of authority is very important to any organization as it empowers employees or team members. It is essential in sharing authority and duty among individuals within an organization.Withoutit, it will be difficult to establishing a formal organization.

The Importance of Delegation is because it leads to;

  1. Efficiency: Efficiency arises when duty is transferred to people with skills that match the role. Let the team members carry out routine activities for themselves while you plan and strategize for the next step. This will ensure you have adequate time for planning, less stress and improved efficiency
  2. Development:Team leaders have skills and abilities that can be passed down to other team members. The best way to do this is to teach them the new skills and then delegate duties to them for them to utilize the already learnt skills. The importance of delegation is in team development as well; as you can outsource team development to experienced members of your team thereby increasing their mentoring skills as well as decision making.
  3. Empowerment: To empower is to allow others become experts at what they do even if they surpass your ability. This encourages personal development of team members leading to the overall team success.
  4. Leadership: A good leader does not do, he plans and coaches. After coaching, team members will take roles assigned to them and accomplish with or without supervision. When tasks are completed, new tasks can be taken with maximum confidence.

Delegation is not only directed downwards but upwards as well. Whichever the direction tasks are assigned, it is important to follow up on progress and propel the team for success.

The importance of delegating leadership (and how to properly delegate)

The importance of delegating leadership (and how to properly delegate)

A good leader must possess the following basic skills for effective delegation;

  • Communication: There should be clear articulation of what needs to be done
  • Trust: The people to which authority or duty is to be delegated to should be well trusted
  • Honesty: You should be open to the team on what you expect.

The above leadership skills can be developed with time as one learns to trust, to be honest and to communicate effectively. This whole process brings together the various parts of delegation i.e.; situation assessment, assigning of responsibility, availing oneself and affirming of objectives.

When assessing always seek responses to the following questions;

  • What tasks are for delegation?
  • Who is the most effective person to delegate to?
  • What expectations do I have for this task?
  • And after work is completed, what are the available methods of task evaluation?

When assigning the roles always ensure that the best selection process for the person to be delegated to is in place, communicate your expectations in the best way possible and do follow-ups to ensure correct processes are maintained and followed to the latter. The follow-up process will be effective when the person who is delegating tasks avails himself in person. That way, lines of communication are strengthened through questions asked.

To realize expectations, follow through how things are done and give praise where it is due. Constructive criticism can also be practiced and always ask the team on what they think should be done for better future results.

In most cases, leaders tend to be reluctant in trusting other people with decisions that might impact the overall running of the organization for the simple fear that things might not be done as expected or desired. As a leader therefore, sometimes it is important to sacrifice individual ideas for delegated tasks so long as the quality of work output is at an acceptable level.

The importance of delegating leadership (and how to properly delegate)

Other reasons for the importance of delegation includes;

  1. Improved decision making: Another importance of delegation is that it always leads to better decisions. This is because supervisors are closer to the scene and are part of everything that happens and they only need to be empowered to make justified judgments. A good example is when a sales manager makes sales decisions in his territory without influence from the general manager based far away in the headquarters.
  2. Managers are relieved from heavy workload: Everyday, responsibilities accumulate. When a lot of duties are handled by one person, inefficiency creeps in resulting to wrong decisions that negatively influence the company operations. When the supervisor or manager is relieved some duties, he will be able to concentrate on higher matters of management. This is where the importance of delegation lies. E.g. it will be a waste of time for a manager to engage in checking personal time cards of lower employees instead of channeling that time and energy in dealing with the overall organization goals. Such minor roles should be delegated to a lower supervisory level.
  3. Enhances faster decisions: Quick decision making is made possible as unnecessary bureaucratic channels initially followed to arrive to simple decisions are broken.On-the-spot-decisions save the organization a lot of time initially wasted.
  4. Builds morale and trains subordinates: When subordinates are allowed to make decisions on their own, they accept responsibility. This in turn improves their self-confidence and overall performance.
  5. It creates a formal organizational structure: When authority is delegated, a formal structure for the organization is also created. A formal organization structure only arises when authority is channeled to different persons resulting to a superior-subordinate relationship.

The importance of delegating leadership (and how to properly delegate)

Before delegating roles or authority, it is important to ensure thatthe subordinates understand their duties and all the objectives of the organization. Also, they need to have the requisite authority that allows them carry out the assigned duties, i.e. authority needs to be coextensive with subordinates’ responsibility.

Again, only duties should be delegated to subordinates and not responsibility. This therefore means that superiors cannot avoid responsibility for any delegated roles or duties. Lastly, subordinates should be aware of their power limits in various work stations and should be answerable to only one superior. All these should be observed for effective delegation

Home » Resources » What is a Delegating Leadership Style?

A delegating leadership style is a low task and relationship behavior approach to leadership where a leader empowers an individual to exercise autonomy. Employing this approach entails providing the individual with the big picture, then trusting them to deliver agreed-upon results.

A delegating leadership style is most effective with a person that is both confident and competent to perform. Even a moderate level of input from the leader here (e.g. offering suggestions) can be off-putting and, as such, interpreted as a lack of trust. This might result in regression of both their task-related ability and motivation.

What a delegating leadership style looks like:

  • Turns over control
  • Provides the “big picture”
  • Allows the individual to make task-related decisions
  • Monitors activities
  • Reinforces results
  • Remains accessible

Key Indicators of when to use a delegating leadership style:

  • Consistently performs this task at a high standard
  • Can operate autonomously
  • Is committed to and enjoys performing the task
  • Keeps key stakeholders informed of task progress
  • Shares both good and bad news
  • Is aware of their task-related competency and skill

Situational Leadership ® and a delegating leadership style:

Situational Leadership ® refers to delegation as S4 (or Style 4). At The Center for Leadership Studies, we believe that a leader needs to adapt their approach based on the current performance of the person they are trying to influence. Situational Leaders are routinely shifting between one of the four styles with each person they influence on a task-by-task basis.

Based on the above indicators for the individual, we would identify them as R4 (or Readiness Level 4). This means the individual is able and confident and willing to complete the task at a sustained and acceptable level. Once a Situational Leader has assessed an individual to be R4 for a specific task, the leader should take a step back to allow the individual to complete the task while remaining accessible in case a question arises (providing S4 leadership).

An example of using S4 or a delegating leadership style correctly:

A manager allows a tenured and high-performing employee to identify and execute a plan for the upcoming company picnic (a high-visibility event which this employee has successfully organized previously).

An example of using S4 or a delegating leadership style incorrectly:

A manager empowers a recently hired employee to organize the company picnic with no real sense for this employee’s experience or interest with this kind of endeavor.

Understanding the benefits of delegation is relatively straightforward. Knowing both how and when to delegate is significantly more difficult! In that context, the real job of any leader is to identify what style of leadership a follower needs for a given situation. Consider Situational Leadership ® as a timing mechanism that helps leaders determine when … to do what in that regard!

Delegation in leadership not only helps get things done, but it also empowers employees by giving them greater autonomy. No leader can do all things at all times, and delegation is a key tool for boosting team and organizational performance and efficiency. A Gallup study found that companies led by CEOs who were strong delegators achieved a higher overall growth rate compared to companies whose CEOs delegated less.

Great leadership has many components, and delegation is an important factor for maximizing employee contributions and increasing productivity among all members of a team. Here are four reasons why delegation is essential for effective leadership.

Frees up Time

Achieving the right balance between the strategic and the tactical is important for any leader to be effective, especially with the many demands on their time and attention. In a survey conducted by the Strategic Thinking Institute, 96 percent of leaders said they lacked time for strategic thinking. When leaders delegate certain tasks to others, they become free to focus on higher-value activities and use their time more productively. Delegation not only gives leaders time for strategic thinking, but it also allows them to focus on other tasks that only they can perform, such as leading and coaching their teams. As outlined in a Harvard Business Review article, one team leader adopted a strategy of delegation and made the shift from simply being busy to being productive.

Encourages the Prioritization of Tasks

Delegation starts with determining which tasks can be delegated and which can’t. Prioritizing tasks helps leaders determine the most critical items to be delegated and who should perform them. One tool for developing a prioritization system for delegation is the Urgent vs. Important Matrix. Using this matrix, leaders can categorize tasks based on their time sensitivity and importance. Tasks or decisions that are less important but urgent, such as responding to a routine request from another team, can probably be delegated. Tasks that are both highly important and urgent might also be candidates for delegation as well, but perhaps to a more experienced member of the team.

Empowers Employees

Delegation empowers employees by enabling them to demonstrate their capability to take on new work. When individuals step outside of their typical day-to-day activities and have the chance to take on new tasks or get involved in decision-making, they become more invested in the outcome of their delegated responsibilities. Delegation helps people recognize their importance to the team, which fosters a deeper sense of commitment and engagement. Leaders can build a sense of empowerment among employees by delegating in areas such as:

  • Project management—ask a member of the team to write the first draft of a project proposal.
  • Client relations—select a member of the sales team to gather client data and background reading ahead of a client meeting.
  • New system implementation—pick a couple of employees to test drive a new system and report back to the team with their findings.

Supports New Skill Development

Delegation builds new skills among team leaders and their direct reports. It gets newer leaders into a rhythm of accepting responsibility for outcomes without feeling that they must take on every single task themselves. When leaders learn how to delegate effectively, they are building competency in setting expectations, providing feedback, and ensuring accountability in others. For individuals who have responsibilities delegated to them, they have opportunities to learn a new process or interact with team members they might not deal with normally. These new experiences help them build skills in areas such as project management, teamwork, and communication.

Delegation involves more than just doling out tasks to other members of the team. Effective leaders carefully consider what to delegate and to whom, and understand how delegation makes their team more effective. Leadership development is a great way to teach leaders how to leverage delegation for improved productivity, empowered employees, and skill-building.

The importance of delegating leadership (and how to properly delegate)

Start by picking the right person for the job.

For many leaders, delegating feels like something they know they should do, but don’t do. Senior leaders often struggle with knowing what they can delegate that would actually feel helpful to them, or how to delegate responsibility and not just tasks, or what responsibilities could serve as a learning and growth opportunity for others below them. Before leaders can successfully and effectively delegate, they need to understand their own resistance. Perhaps they’re reluctant to delegate because they don’t want to give up control, or they don’t want to look like they’re slacking. For the senior leader to start delegating and stick with it, he needs to address these feelings, challenge his own assumptions about “what if,” and try small, low-risk delegation experiments to see whether his assumptions are rooted in the truth or in his own desire for safety. Delegating well helps leaders maximize their resources, ensuring that they’re focusing on their highest priorities, developing their team members, and creating a culture where delegation isn’t just expected — it’s embedded in the culture.

Start by picking the right person for the job.

In their book, Hidden Value: How Great Companies Achieve Extraordinary Results with Ordinary People, authors Jeffrey Pfeffer and Charles O’Reilly claim that there is mounting evidence that delegating more responsibility for decision making increases productivity, morale, and commitment, all of which impact company culture. A 2015 Gallup study of the entrepreneurial talents of 143 CEOs on the Inc. 500 list showed that companies run by executives who effectively delegate authority grow faster, generate more revenue, and create more jobs.

According to John C. Maxwell, author of Developing the Leaders Around You, “If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.”

Yet, for many leaders, delegating feels like something they know they should do, but don’t do. And the roadblock often begins at the top. Senior leaders often struggle with knowing what they can delegate that would actually feel helpful to them, or how to delegate responsibility and not just tasks, or what responsibilities could serve as a learning and growth opportunity for others below them. In addition, senior executives (like others in the organization) may not have had role models along the way to show them how to delegate successfully. And, of course, there’s a perceived reputational risk. Will delegating make them look like they don’t know their stuff, or like they’re slacking off themselves?

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When the senior leaders of an organization can’t or won’t delegate, the culture suffers. In his book, The Art of Being Unreasonable, author, philanthropist, and billionaire CEO Eli Broad writes, “The inability to delegate is one of the biggest problems I see with managers at all levels.

Before leaders can successfully and effectively delegate, they need to understand their own resistance. In Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization, Harvard Graduate School of Education professors Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey suggest that leaders state their goal and then describe the behaviors that are stalling their efforts. For instance, a senior sales leader might want to delegate follow-up calls to big customers to his sales team, but realizes that he hasn’t updated his notes in the CRM database, or he might simply be in the habit of making the follow-up calls himself before members of the team can get to them.

Kegan and Lahey then suggest that leaders examine these behaviors and ask themselves how they’d feel if they did the opposite. What if updating the CRM database in a timely manner meant pushing off other, more important activities? What if not calling customers meant that they felt ignored or disrespected, and they took their business elsewhere? These concerns activate the “emotional immune system,” which tries to ward off feelings of fear, overwhelm, loss of control, and disappointment. For the senior leader to start delegating and stick with it, he needs to address these feelings, challenge his own assumptions about “what if,” and try small, low-risk delegation experiments to see whether his assumptions are rooted in the truth or in his desire for safety. In addition, team members to whom tasks are delegated should undertake a similar process in order to identify their concerns and challenge their own assumptions about what might happen if they take on new tasks, roles, and responsibilities.

Once a leader has begun to shift his or her mindset, it’s time to start shifting behaviors. In my own work as a leadership coach, I have identified eight practices of leaders who delegate successfully:

  1. They pick the right person — and it isn’t always about who can do it. Who needs to develop these skills? Who has capacity? Who has shown interest? Who is ready for a challenge? Who would see this as a reward? Successful delegators also explain why they chose the person to take on the task.
  2. They’re clear about what the person is responsible for and how much autonomy they have. In Drive: The Surprising Science About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink writes that people often want autonomy over task, team, technique, and time. Successful delegators let their team members know exactly where they have autonomy and where they don’t (yet).
  3. They describe the desired results in detail. This includes setting clear expectations about the outcome (“what it is”), how the task fits into the bigger picture (“why we’re doing it”), and criteria for measuring success (“what it should look like when done well”).
  4. They make sure that team members have the resources they need to do the job, whether it’s training, money, supplies, time, a private space, adjusted priorities, or help from others.
  5. They establish checkpoints, milestones, and junctures for feedback so that they neither micromanage nor under-lead.
  6. They encourage new, creative ways for team members to accomplish goals. It’s important for delegators to set aside their attachment to how things have been done in the past, so that they can invite, recognize, and reward novel approaches that work.
  7. They create a motivating environment. Successful delegators know when to cheerlead, coach, step in, step back, adjust expectations, make themselves available, and celebrate successes.
  8. They tolerate risks and mistakes, and use them as learning opportunities, rather than as proof that they shouldn’t have delegated in the first place.

Delegating well helps leaders maximize their resources, ensuring that they’re focusing on their highest priorities, developing their team members, and creating a culture where delegation isn’t just expected — it’s embedded in the culture.

“The first rule of management is delegation. Don’t try and do everything yourself because you can’t.” Anthea Turner

The average 21 st century school leader is in over his or her head in work demands and expectations.

A typical day for a school principal includes a host of management activities such as scheduling, personnel and facility management, instructional oversight, meetings, budgeting, programming, disciplining students, connecting with parents and the community, reporting to the board or district, and, perhaps most challenging of all, addressing individual student needs. This list does not include the crises and special situations that are inevitable in schools and can be all-consuming when they occur.

To meet these demands, more principals are working longer days, with leaders of high-poverty schools racking up even more time. Some even work on weekends to keep up.

Compounding matters is that principals are expected to remain current, dynamic and adaptable in their thinking and practice, despite such moving targets as shifts in district priorities or school climate, changes in student demographics or school performance, technological advances, as well as best practice research and professional development. And they must do all of this in an ongoing environment of accountability that has increasingly become linked to narrowly defined academic results.

No wonder so many principals are chafing at the increased complexity of their roles and responsibilities.

A 2012 MetLife Survey of the American Teacher found that three out of four K-12 public school principals believe the job has become “too complex,” with the majority contending that school leadership responsibilities have changed significantly over the last five years. Nearly half of principals surveyed indicated that they “feel under great stress several days a week.”

Another contributor to this stress is a lack of perceived control. For example, according to the same survey, only 42% say they have control over curriculum and instruction, while 43% of principals say they have control when it comes to removing teachers.

This lack of perceived control does not diminish principals’ sense of responsibility for day-to-day goings on in their buildings. Nine in 10 maintained that “the principal should be held accountable for everything that happens to the children in his or her school.” Principals see themselves as accountable, as does the public, but in many areas, they feel unable to do much to improve things.

The result of this unholy trinity of increased work, added complexity and reduced control is a notable decrease in job satisfaction among principals. In 2008, 68% had indicated that they were “very satisfied”. Four years later, that number had dropped to 59%.

Not surprisingly, about a third of those surveyed said they were likely to go into a different occupation within next five years. That is a deeply unfortunate outcome for professionals who have made education their life’s work. In addition, the impact of principal churn on teachers and students, academically and otherwise, can hardly be ignored.

Delegation is the answer

So, what are principals to do? One answer is to become more comfortable with and proficient at delegating. The practice offers many benefits, including:

  1. Removing bottleneck. Delegation helps clear the bottleneck around organizational output and efficiency. More will get done, and competently, when responsibilities are clear, and the right people are doing the right work with proper timelines attached.
  2. Continuity of process. Involved processes, such as curriculum development, standards alignment and event scheduling, all benefit from process continuity. Delegation fosters such steadiness by keeping the same people focused on the same tasks time and again.
  3. Focus on “big rocks.”Kim Marshall has famously spoken about the importance of prioritization for principals to attend to their most important tasks first. Delegation allows principals to clear the smaller rocks off their desks and assign them elsewhere.
  4. Cost effectiveness. Administrators are typically the highest paid members of a school’s faculty. They should work only on the things that they are uniquely qualified to do, while delegating the rest to trained support staff.
  5. Leadership pipeline. Delegation allows leaders to develop team member and subordinate skills, proficiencies and general efficacy. In the words of Craig Groeschel, Life Church founder, “When you delegate tasks, you create followers. When you delegate authority, you create leaders.”
  6. Distributed leadership. Similar to #5, the distributed leadership model encourages leaders to share the practice of leadership more broadly within their schools, building its internal capacity for change and improvement. When work and responsibility is distributed, it encourages co‑operation and team work. Colleagues feel more invested the successes or failures of the school.
  7. Trust. Delegating meaningful work builds trust among the parties. Trust is also a powerful driver in improving morale and engagement.
  8. Communication. Delegation demands much communication throughout a project’s lifetime to ensure its success. Such communication has numerous positive benefits, including idea sharing and bonding.
  9. Creativity. New minds means new ways of looking at things and new approaches to problem solving. The outcome is often a creative new approach that is far superior to the initial conception.
  10. Motivation. Many motivational theories highlight the importance of accountability and responsibility in shaping employee behavior. Employees typically feel more involved and engaged if they feel trusted with important responsibilities or activities. The more they are required to think about the task, consider alternatives and make choices, the more rewarding the work becomes.

The following realities underscore the importance of delegation in schools:

  • In schools with hundreds or more learners and tens of teachers and support staff, the head cannot control every activity.
  • There is a physical and mental limit to the workload capacity of any individual or group in authority.
  • As a school grows more specialization in leadership, management and teaching areas is necessary.

Based on these lists, you might think that most school principals are delegating at every opportunity. But the reality is often very different.

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What you are doing is not good. You and the people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; You cannot handle it alone. But, select capable men from all the people – men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain – and appoint them officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens…..That your load will be lighter, because they will share it with you. (Exodus 18:13-22)

In recent posts we have examined all the factors that should be considered leading up to actually delegating a task. In this article we provide a sequential guide on exactly how to delegate in a way that most likely ensures success. You may consider these as steps in a process or techniques you may use in delegation.

How To Delegate Properly

We’ve talked about delegation and its benefits, but exactly how do you go about being an effective delegator and reap the benefits we’ve discussed? Unfortunately, many leaders are unsure how to delegate properly and are therefore hesitant to do so. Here is a step by step process followed by most effective delegators. When followed properly it will help ensure you get the best possible results.

Step 2: Identify the best person for the job: Read How To Know Who To Delegate To

Step 3: Get employee buy-in: After you’ve found the perfect person for the job, you still have to get them to agree take on the new responsibility. Let them know why you chose them for the task and why the task is important. Take their thoughts and experiences into account. Employees who see delegated tasks as opportunities are more likely to be invested in the outcome.

Step 4: Be clear and specific about the work and your expectations: It’s critical to explain to employees why the project is necessary, the goals and outcomes you have for the project, how you will measure success, and what you expect of them. Clarify the boundaries, lines of authority, and what decisions they are empowered to make and what decisions they need to run by you first. Ask them to confirm their understandings with you. If they know what you expect, they’ll be more likely to deliver. And, by setting clear expectations, you help them plan how to carry out the task.

Step 5: Establish controls: Discuss guidelines, timelines and deadlines. Make certain they understand the policies and procedures they must follow. Agree on how you will monitor their work with a schedule of check-points where you will give and receive feedback and review project progress. Agreeing on proper controls help you keep the project on track and accomplished to your satisfaction without the employee feeling they are being micromanaged.

Step 6: Offer training, support, and feedback: Ask the employee if there is any part of the task they feel uncertain how to do. Offer coaching or further training if they express a lack of confidence in how to accomplish the task. Ask what additional resources they will need to be successful. Provide feedback, answers questions, and offer clarification at different check-ins along the way.

Step 7: Show your appreciation: Acknowledge progress, celebrate small wins, and express appreciation during periodic check-ins. Employees will be more effective and dedicated if they know that you notice their efforts.

Step 8: Review final work: When delegated work is delivered back to you, make certain you promptly set aside time to review it thoroughly. Accept only good quality fully completed work. If the results are not satisfactory, explain why to the employee and provide the necessary coaching to complete the task to your satisfaction.

Step 9: Reward the employee. Recognizing and rewarding an employee for a job well done is critical to their willingness to accept future tasks. Determine how the employee likes to be rewarded and determine the appropriate reward. Examples include, a written word of appreciation, recognition before their peers, a gift, promotion, or raise.

The Bottom Line

Now that you know exactly what delegation involves and the steps to delegate work effectively, you are in a position to streamline your tasks and increase your productivity and that of your team. And always keep in mind that leaders must master the art of the delegation process to be successful. Understanding how to allocate responsibility to others is essential in maintaining a high level of productivity, effectiveness and efficiency, both on a personal and organizational level. The bottom line…..delegating tasks is essential for effective leadership!

The importance of delegating leadership (and how to properly delegate)

Never underestimate the importance of delegating effectively. How well you delegate is directly reflected in how empowered your employees feel, which strengthens their skills, their decision-making abilities and, ultimately, their productivity.

Coordination, communication and plentiful trust are the keys to effective delegation. The result is a win for the employee and for your business.

Find the right person.

The first rule in effective delegation is to find someone who possesses all the prerequisites. These include strong collaboration, authority and reliability. As a great leader, you should have an understanding of the weaknesses, strengths and interests of your employees.

To go about this process, I recommend auditing the list of tasks you wish to delegate. Then, gather your team, and show them the list. Let people select tasks themselves based on their strengths and interests. This is a great way to demonstrate trust and inspire action within your team.

Provide clear instructions.

Delegation is different from micromanaging, and it is imperative to understand this distinction. A good delegator provides essential information with detailed and precise instructions, but does not micromanage. Your goal must be to convey the results you are seeking but not to delegate the methods. When you micromanage, you are only binding your team to your ideas and not giving them a platform to brainstorm their own.

So, instead of telling them how to act upon leads, tell them what you and your team will be doing, what results you are looking to achieve and the sort of sales you envision them getting. Your part must be to show them what milestones and goals you wish the company to achieve. How your team tackles it should be up to their discretion.

Train and empower your team.

Effective delegation happens when you ensure that the person being tasked with a project or responsibility is first equipped with everything they need. The key to every successful delegation is to train, provide and then let loose. Begin by letting your team member watch how you do it. Then allow them to do it with you, and then let them take over.

Throwing your team member into a task without developing their skills and providing necessary equipment first would be nothing short of vicious. When delegating effectively, it’s also important to empower the person with the authority they will need to lead and drive the project forward.

Review the task.

No one appreciates the sort of manager who delegates tasks to an employee and then squarely places the blame on their shoulders when things go wrong. Needless to say, don’t be that manager at any cost.

To avoid falling into this sort of trap, establish a checkpoint at which you review the task in progress. Don’t hesitate to make changes where necessary to improve the quality of work or provide feedback if it would help with the task’s progression.

Delegation is by no means the act of thrusting all your cares upon the shoulders of your employee and then sitting back to watch them collapse. Delegation means sharing equal responsibility but leaving the actions entirely up to your employee. Provide support by reviewing, guiding, sharing honest and constructive feedback, and encouraging your employee.

Place responsibilities into capable hands, and allow the employee to use their judgment to achieve outlined targets. Effective delegation ensures the maximum productivity of your business and empowers team members to acquire new skills and come up with innovative methods to achieve business objectives.

The importance of delegating leadership (and how to properly delegate)

In life, you always have a choice. You can either do everything yourself or you can get others to help you do some of the work. Our entire economic structure is built on the principle of specialization. Specialization means that some people become very good at doing certain tasks while other people become very good at doing other tasks.

Delegation is one of the most important management skills. Without the ability to delegate effectively and well, it is impossible for you to advance in management to higher positions of responsibility.

Delegation is not only about maximizing your own productivity and value; it is also about maximizing the productivity of your staff. Your job as a manager is to get the highest return on the company’s investment in people. The average person today is working at 50 percent of capacity. With effective delegation, you can tap into that unused 50-percent potential to increase your staff’s productivity.

Your job as a manager is to develop people. Delegation is the means that you use to bring out the very best in the people that you have.

  • The first step in delegation is to think through the job. Decide exactly what is to be done. What result do you want?
  • The second step in delegation is to set performance standards. How will you measure to determine whether the job has been done properly or not?
  • The third step is to determine a schedule and a deadline for getting the job done.

Task-Relevant Maturity

The task-relevant maturity of your staff — how long they have been on the job and how competent they are — determines your method of delegation.

  • Low task-relevant maturity means they are new and inexperienced in the job. In this case, use a directive delegation style. Tell people exactly what you want them to do.
  • Medium task-relevant maturity means staff have experience in the job; they know what they are doing. In this case, use the management by objectives delegation method. Tell people the end result that you want and then get out of their way and let them do it.
  • High task-relevant maturity is when the staff person is completely experienced and competent. Your method of delegation in this case is simply easy interaction.

The Art of Delegation

There are seven essentials for effective delegation:

  • Pick the right person. Picking the wrong person for a key task is a major reason for failure.
  • Match the requirements of the job to the abilities of the person. Be sure that the delegatee is capable of doing the job.
  • Delegate effectively to the right person. This frees you to do more things of higher value. The more of your essential tasks that you can teach and delegate to others, the greater the time you will have to do the things that only you can do.
  • Delegate smaller tasks to newer staff to build their confidence and competence.
  • Delegate the entire job. One hundred percent responsibility for a task is a major performance motivator. The more often you assign responsibilities to the right people, the more competent they become.
  • Delegate clear outcomes. Make them measurable. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Explain what is to be done, how you think it should be done, and the reasons for doing this job in the first place.
  • Delegate with participation and discussion. Invite questions and be open to suggestions. There is a direct relationship between how much people are invited to talk about the job and how much they understand it, accept it, and become committed to it. You need to delegate in such a way that people walk away feeling, “This is my job; I own it.”

All excellent managers are excellent delegators. In old-school thinking, people used to say that, “If you want the job done right, you have to do it yourself.”

In new-school thinking, however, the correct statement is, “If you want the job done right, you have to delegate it properly to others so that they can do it to the proper standard.”


Supervising is the process of making sure the job is done on time and on budget. Delegation is not abdication; you are still accountable for results. The more important the job is, the more important it is that you keep on top of it. The job of the manager is to get things done through others. Your ability to organize the work and to supervise your staff effectively to get the job done on schedule and on budget is the key to getting the results for which you are responsible. Your ability to supervise others can be greatly improved by learning what other excellent managers have discovered over the years and by applying these principles and ideas to your interactions with your subordinates.

Five Keys to Excellent Supervision

There are five keys to excellent supervision:

  • Accept complete responsibility for your staff. You choose them, you assign them, and you manage them.
  • Look upon your staff with the same patience and understanding as you would look upon younger members of your family.
  • Practice the Friendship Factor with them, which is composed of three components: time, caring, and respect. Give staff time when they want to talk. Express caring and concern for them and their problems. Treat them with respect, the same way you would treat a customer or friend.
  • Practice Servant Leadership, by seeing your job as a position of trust with your subordinates. Just as they are there to serve you and the company, you are there to serve them, as well.
  • Practice Golden Rule Management. Treat each person the way you would like to be treated if the situation were reversed. When you practice Golden Rule Management — you manage other people the way you would like to be managed — you will elicit better performance from your people than in any other way.

В© Brian Tracy. All rights reserved. The contents, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form for any purpose without the written permission of Brian Tracy.

Brian Tracy, author ofВ Full Engagement!: Inspire, Motivate, and Bring Out the Best in Your People, is one of America’s most respected authorities on developing organizational and human potential.В He is the top selling author of over 50 books that have been translated into dozens of languages.

His insights into leadership, personal effectiveness, business strategy, and success psychology, which he presents to more than half a million people around the world each year in his talks and seminars, produce immediate changes and long-term results.

Brian Tracy is Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a company specializing in the training and development of individuals and organizations.