Does Your Delegating Save Time or Waste It?

BY Jessica Helinski
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Delegation is an important skill to master when in a leadership role. When done properly, delegation will save you, the leader, precious time, as well as keep business running efficiently. Unfortunately, not every leader has mastered delegating. “Delegation is supposed to leverage an executive’s precious time,” writes Marlene Chism in an article for SmartBrief. “However, ineffective delegation wastes time and resources, lowers morale and contributes to confusion.” 

But delegation skills can be improved. Chism shares seven ways leaders can clarify their delegations, and consequently, leverage time. Below are three of those tips:


Often when delegating, leaders will define the fix rather than the problem itself. This immediately gets things off on the wrong foot because, typically, they are assuming the employee understands the problem (and their assumptions aren’t always correct). Instead, define the problem as you understand it so you can guide your [employee] to look for expertise versus products and services,” Chism advises. For example, if you had a plumbing problem, you’d likely contact a plumber to learn what the actual issue is rather than first researching new pipes or parts. Before delegating a task, make sure you have an understanding of the problem itself, which will, in turn, give your employee the knowledge needed to then track down a solution. 


Be very clear about your parameters before delegating; don’t assume employees will automatically know what details are important. Before any action is taken, spend time making sure they understand your expectations and preferences. Clarifying exactly what you need from the employee, at the beginning of the process, will save both of you time in the long run. 


Again, a little prep work can go a long way. Once you’ve defined the problem and clarified your parameters, encourage your employee to gather some resources and research before taking action. This important prep will not only save them time, but also clue you in to their thought process, ensuring you’re both on the same page.

These, along with Chism’s other suggestions, can greatly improve your delegation skills. Doing so will save you valuable time and make sure that tasks are carried out correctly and business runs smoothly.