Linking Human Capital With Strategic Intent

12 Tips for Effective Delegation

Andrew Carnegie said “The secret of success is not in doing your own work but in recognizing the right man to do it.”

When it comes to delegation:  We’re our own worst enemy!

Recognize any of these traits from your own thought train?vector of business boss delegation icon with pictograms of people | flat design infographics template

Dominant/impatient – ”I’ll just do it myself, I can do it quicker and I won’t have to spend time explaining it.”

Dot every “I”/Cross Every “T” – ”I’ll just do it myself that way I know it is done correctly and I won’t have to re-do it.”

Relationship Centered – ”My staff is already overloaded; I’ll take it home and do it.”

Martyr – ”If I do all this work they will appreciate me more and see I can do the work.”

No matter what, all of these personalities end up with the same problem: Running out of time. Time is our most precious commodity and there is never enough. Delegation frees up time, but it also motivates and develops people.


  1. Communicate and get out of the way. Set timeframes and goals. People need to know what it is you expect. What does the outcome look like? When do you need it by? What’s the budget?  What resources do they get? What decisions can they make?
  2. Prepare and follow up. Prior to delegating; make a list including pertinent questions. After assigning the task, review and answer the questions to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
  3. More what and why, less how. The best delegators are crystal clear on what and when, and more open on how. People are more motivated when they can determine the how for themselves.
  4. Give more leeway. Encourage others to experiment, be creative and to try new ideas. Besides being more motivating, it’s also more developmental for them.
  5. Paint the big picture. People are more motivated when they know where this task fits in the bigger picture. Take three extra minutes and tell them why this task needs to be done.
  6. Delegate as much as possible. Delegate as much as you can along with the authority to do it rather than just pieces or parts. People are more motivated by complete tasks. Delegate those things that others can do and things that you don’t do well.
  7. Who to delegate to. Delegate to those who can do it and those who can almost do it! It is important to avoid the Catch-22.
  8. Work out loud. The role of a coach/teacher is to teach someone how to think and act. Providing solutions is likely to make the person dependent. Instead, ask questions as you go through the task, like: What do you see as important? How do you know?
  9. Allow more time than it would take you. Commonly, manager’s delegate and set time limits based upon their own capabilities and history. Always allow more time in the schedule than it would take you to do it.
  10. Mixing and matching. All of your people have differing skills and capacities. Match the size and complexity of the delegated task with the capacity of each person.
  11. Monitoring delegated tasks. If you must monitor, set time definite checkpoints by the calendar; every Monday, by percentage, after each 10% is complete or by outcome. Let people finish their work.
  12. Compliment efforts and reward Success! Also encourage employees to appraise their own performance and suggest improvements. Mistakes are inevitable, even you do it yourself!



  • Don’t Confuse “PASSING OUT ASSIGNMENTS” With Delegation (This is directing)
  • Don’t “DUMP N’ RUN” Assuming They Will Figure It Out (This causes aggravation)
  • Don’t “ABDICATE RESPONSIBILITY” Assuming They Can Get It Done (This is not “empowering”)


If you’re a book reader, here are a couple great ones for diving even deeper into delegating well:

Delegating for Results by Robert Maddux

If You Want it Done Right, You Don’t Have to Do It Yourself by Donna M. Genett


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