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Deciding When and Whom to Delegate



Delegation is one of the single most important skills a leader can master. Even the Harvard Business Review agrees that delegating can help increase the organization's income and efficiency. However, there are many benefits to delegation beyond increasing revenue. For example, delegation is directly related to your workplace culture through empowering and sharing responsibilities with everyone in the organization. When it comes to task management, a leader offers structure through delegation by assigning tasks, so one person is not subjected to do all the work. However, when leaders see themselves as ultimately responsible for results, they often forget the essence of delegation and lose themselves in the job.


When can you delegate effectively?

  • When you understand the essence of delegation

  • When you are interested in training young workers

  • When you understand what each team member wants and need to grow.

What tasks can you start to delegate?

  • Tasks that don't require unique skills

  • Jobs that your team members can handle with little or no supervision

  • Tasks that will contribute to the growth and development of every individual in your team

One of the challenges is the willingness to let go of control and entrust authority to another person. Delegation is more complicated than simply assigning power to someone in the team. It involves investing in people and helping them expand their capacities. The kind of person you choose to hand your task matters. So how do you know the right person to pick for the job? Consider the following:

What skills do they demonstrate, and how do they fit with the other team members?

Look for the team member who is most equipped to do the job, not just in skill but also in the ability to work with others. Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • How will the person fit with other team members they are working with?

  • Which situation will bring the best of this person?

  • Are the team members' skills appropriate for the task? If not, give it to someone with the right skill. Otherwise, you may assign a task to someone underqualified or find the job boring.

  • If nobody has the right skills, are there resources to teach them? How long will the training take?

Another area to consider is how motivated the team member is?

Sometimes what you need is not the right skill but the right motivation. Is the team member excited about the task? Can you motivate them? What will it take to put them in a suitable headspace?

Remember, delegation as a leader is not necessarily about mastery but more about training them to become better at their craft.

Once you find the right person, you’ll need to consider the current workload of that team member.

It is not only inconsiderate to hand over a significant task on the lap of someone who already has too much to do, but it is also inefficient. You must ask about what they are currently working on, the best time to give them the job and how much others have.

One way to do this might be to ask them an easy question – what will suffer if you take this task? If you and the employee are can accept the answer, then assign it to them.

Beyond these variables for selecting people to delegate the task to, you are the team leader here, and you should understand each person. You should be able to match people with jobs or skills to help people who need that extra push to be where they want to be. Often it makes sense to delegate based on your team member's desire to grow rather than their current abilities.

How do you know what employee to match with what skill/task?

  • Create an inventory of the skills and interests of your team member

  • Categorize your employees by their readiness to learn and grow. Also by their level of expertise.

  • Have a plan to upgrade low performers and develop the high performers.

Delegating is an essential part of leadership. Improper or lack of delegation can have a major impact on the leader’s success. Not only does poor delegation create unnecessary stress on the leader, but it also increases the stress level of employees by not feeling entrusted to perform the work. If you do not allow your employees the time and room they need to grow and take on more tasks, you limit your productivity to the few who already do the work.

Struggling with delegation? We can help! Schedule a free 30-min consultation by visiting us online at: www.CenterForAdvancedLeadership.com