Five Steps To Effective Delegation

Think about a time when you delegated a task to someone and it did not go as planned.  Got that picture in mind?  As you review each of the five steps below, ask yourself two questions:  What did I, as the leader, do well?  What could I do differently next time?

Effective delegation requires you to clearly define the task, provide the appropriate level of autonomy and support, as well as have a plan in place to monitor and review the assigned task.  However, before you can do any of this, you need to analyze your tasks to determine what can be delegated, to what extent, and to whom.  Thus, the starting point of delegation requires you to examine your own work first to see what tasks can be delegated.

Step 1:  Analyze Your Tasks

This step will help you to assess whether you are working on your most important priorities while developing others.  What tasks no longer need to be done and therefore you can you dump?  What tasks can you partially or fully delegate?  What can only be done by you?

Step 2:  Select the Delegate

To ensure you are deciding on the best person to delegate a task to, assess their abilities, interests and needs.   What are their strengths and development needs or interests?  What new responsibilities are they motivated to take on?  Are they under or over capacity?  Who on your team is, therefore, best suited to this task?

Step 3:  Define the Task

If the task objective is not clear in your mind, chances are it won’t be clear to the delegate.  Create a desired outcome for the task, such as “complete the report with 100% accuracy by Friday at noon.”  Determine what is non-negotiable and what decision-making authority the delegate will have.  What milestones need to be met?  What progress updates are required?

Step 4:  Provide Support

The delegate will likely need more support when completing a new and unfamiliar task.  What information, knowledge, skills, or resources does the delegate need from you or someone else to be successful?  How will these be provided?

Step 5:  Monitor and Review

Despite your best planning, any delegated task can meet its share of obstacles.  How will you ensure the agreed upon progress reporting occurs so that you are aware of obstacles early on?  How will you provide coaching support so that obstacles can be resolved?  How will you hold yourself and the delegate accountable to this?

Follow these five steps and you will have a stronger chance of the delegated tasks staying on track and finishing as planned.  And this, my friend, will help you zap any excuses to not delegate!

Your Leadership Challenge:  For one week, list all your tasks – anything you touch, write it down.  Then identify which tasks you can either wholly or partially delegate (Step 1) and which you must retain.  Select one task you can delegate – not your most complex – and apply Steps 2-5 in the process.  Assess what you learned from your experience.  What did you do well? What will you do differently next time?

Lisa Holden Rovers, MSc, CPHR, PCC, is the Founder of Workplace Matters. Since 2005, she has been coaching small and mid-sized business leaders to grow their influence and inspire their teams to thrive. With her data-driven coaching and training approach, Lisa helps clients improve collaboration, productivity, and well-being. As a certified leadership and team coach, Lisa utilizes solutions like Everything DiSC® and The Five Behaviors® to help clients leverage their strengths and build high-performing teams.

let's connect!

Grow as a Leader and Thrive as a Team!

Stay connected to receive future lessons straight to your inbox. 

We respect your privacy.