Delegation is an issue that anyone who finds themselves in leadership, management or supervisory roles must learn to do if they are to improve their personal effectiveness and to develop others . I have found both in my own career and with those I coach, significant improvement in performance, impact and influence does not happen until inroads or even mastery of delegation is achieved. Hopefully you’ll get some new ideas or at least be reminded of what you should/shouldn’t do relating to delegation. By mastering the skill of delegation, you will dramatically increase your productivity and be able to focus your time and energy on reaching your goals and being more effective in your business and personal life.
The ideas are presented from the perspective of “Delegator” – the person delegating the task, and “Delegatee” – the person charged with performing the task.
1. Issues relating to our effectiveness in delegating:

  • Does the delegatee have the ability “to see the angles” and do it right?
  • Am I relegating authority, delegating a task or simply passing the buck?
  • Where does the ultimate responsibility remain? Can it be delegated? (Can responsibility be given, or can it only be taken?)
  • What are client or stakeholder expectations relating to the outcome?

2. Obstacles to delegation:
The Delgatee:

  • inexperience
  • background
  • tenacity
  • inadequate thinking skills
  • time taken (insufficient speed)
  • inaccessibility at the moment of need
  • inadequate deductive reasoning capability

The Delegator:

  • my work discipline is too non-linear
  • I like doing it myself
  • the finished product won’t be up to my standards
  • my perfectionism gets in the way of letting go
  • inability to identify tasks that can be delegated
  • evaluate the cost of delegating versus doing it yourself
  • belief that training takes/wastes time
  • insufficient patience, or inability to explain clearly
  • my client expects me to do these tasks – really?

3. Consequences of not delegating when you could have

  • lost personal time
  • overwork
  • burnout
  • less income
  • missed vacations
  • frustration and disappointment with yourself being viewed as a control freak

4. Recommendations for improvement

  • reward myself for successful delegation – this also helps reinforce good behaviours and actions. (We all need to be good to ourselves once in while.)
  • give good feedback to assistants/reports assigned to the task
  • make clients aware that you do directly supervise your team on delegated tasks to ensure quality
  • make a list of assignable tasks
  • make a list of clients whose work suits delegation
  • learn to say ”no” to what you should not do
  • ask “how would you do it?” versus telling others how to do it
  • pose specific questions to an assistant or team member e.g. “please research these three things…”, versus doing the research or data collection yourself
  • delegate assignments with boundaries where you can estimate the costs including time, money and people that you can control and oversee to achieve better results

5. Conclusion
If you don’t delegate you:

  • can’t grow your business
  • work all the time
  • can’t go on vacation or feel guilty when you do
  • earn less income
  • are passed over for promotions
  • feel powerless
  • may be a control freak
  • may have incompetent or unskilled people working for you (easiest to fix – hire better or train more)

So now that you know what to do – start delegating!