How Well Are You Delegating Tasks?


Managers often feel overwhelmed by the number of outstanding projects on their to-​do lists. An organized and methodical manager can put order into chaos by delegating tasks. First, they should develop a vision for what will be done and who will do it. Second, they need to pay attention to the ‘moment of assignment.’

The Who of Delegation

At Three Star Leadership, Wally Bock recently discussed his three variables of delegation. His first variable centers on people. Once you decide what must be done, think about the members of your team. Who has the capability to handle the work? Remember to delegate projects to team members who possess the right skill sets and the right attitudes.

You also need to develop team members. Maybe you should give the project to a staffer who’s indicated interest in trying something new. If you hand the project to an inexperienced team member, be prepared to offer support and encouragement. This management task will draw on your time and talents. But if you're committed to developing team member skills, you must make the training investment.

The How of Delegation

The success of a delegated project comes down to how well you, the manager, give instructions. In one training session I attended recently, executive coach, Jan Allen of Business of People, encouraged us to concentrate on the 'moment of assignment.' Receiving an assignment, from an employee’s perspective, resembles meeting someone for the first time. You can make a positive impression, and build the employee’s excitement, by showing the right attitude. Stay positive and upbeat. Explain that the project will help them grow.

When you assign the work, be specific. Keep your top-​level instructions brief. State the expected outcome. If the project has multiple parts, advise the employee to write them down. Your goal is to make sure the employee understands the task you’re delegating.

Successful delegation helps you get projects finished on time and on budget. When you get it right, your employees will develop confidence and skills. The organization benefits and your employees will be loyal to you and your organization.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.