Great Leadership Skills – Delegation

Posted July 8th, 2009

The great leader realises that they cannot have hands-on control of every aspect of their work. In order to effectively deliver on the demands placed on them, they should rely on relevant members of their team for support. The leader that can successfully delegate will enjoy a greater level of achievement.

The Benefits of effective delegation are:

Top performers will be attracted by your approach and want to join your team, poor performers won’t!

You will have more time to focus on strategy and forward looking tasks

Team members will be motivated by the responsibility

Team members will be given the opportunity to ‘shine’

Your team will be more efficient

When carried out effectively, delegation can be a huge motivating factor for a team. Conversely, the team can be deeply de-motivated when a leader abdicates responsibility for tasks, palms off work that they do not like or delegates the task, but not the responsibility to complete it.

With this in mind, we must ensure that we are delegating work for the right reasons, at the right times and in the right way. First we must establish what it is we should, and should not, be delegating.

Do not delegate work that you can remove completely. If it is something that really does not have to be done, remove it.

Delegate routine activities that you may use to procrastinate. Things like filing, photocopying, data entry, collecting data – If it takes up a lot of time and someone else is better placed to do it, pass it on.

Things that you are not the expert at. If another member of the team will do a better job of it, let them.

Small projects – if a project can be completed by one of your team and you know it will develop their skills, discuss it with them and see if they want to take up the challenge.
Do not delegate something just because you don’t like doing it. This isn’t fair and will lose you respect.

Do not delegate jobs that require your level of authority or tasks that have a high level of responsibility and accountability i.e. job interviews, disciplinary meetings etc. (unless of course this is part of the role your team deal with).

The key is to be practical about delegation. Think about your motives behind why you are delegating. If you are honest with yourself, it is likely that you will choose the right reasons to delegate.

It is also important to delegate the authority and responsibility with the task. There is nothing worse than a leader who delegates the task, but then restricts the team member’s ability to complete it because they somehow feel they must retain control. If you are happy for that person to take on the task, you should be comfortable that they have the ability to get results.

Having said this, you should delegate the task, not abdicate it. The individual should not be left feeling that a task has been dumped on them with no more involvement from you. Schedule regular updates, ask casually how the person is progressing, give and ask for feedback and allow them to find their own way with guidance from you if required.

For positive results, you can follow this simple process…

  1. Define Your Desired Results
  2. Select an Appropriate Team Member
  3. Clarify Expectations and Set Clear Parameters
  4. Give Authority and Responsibility to Agreed Level
  5. Provide Background Information
  6. Establish a Clear Feedback Process

By following this simple process you will ensure that the person you delegate to feels that they have your full support throughout the process. Where they feel that the challenge is too demanding, they should have every opportunity to let you know.

One final thought to consider is that once the team member completes the task, you should ensure they receive the credit and your thanks. By celebrating their success you not only build a motivated workforce, you also ensure that your team are willing to work on further tasks for you.

This article is an excerpt from the Trainer Bubble training materials, ‘Great Leadership’, which you can purchase from our website at


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