Sep 25, 2012


You have way too much to do, you're buried in work, and it seems there's no way out from under it all. But there is: delegation…

delegating.gifWhat the Experts Say
Delegation is a critical skill. "Your most important task as a leader is to teach people how to think and ask the right questions so that the world doesn't go to hell if you take a day
off." Delegation benefits managers, direct reports, and organizations. Yet it remains one of the most underutilized and underdeveloped management capabilities.
Watch for warning signs
You may not realize that you're unnecessarily hoarding work. There are warning signs, however. "A classic sign of insufficient delegation is that you are working long hours and feel totally indispensable, while your staff isn't terribly energized and keeps strangely regular

Understand why you're not delegating
There are plenty of reasons why managers don't delegate. Some are perfectionists who feel it's easier to do everything themselves, or that their work is better than others'.
Some believe that passing on work will detract from their own importance, while others lack self-confidence and don't want to be upstaged by their subordinates. Giving up being 'the go-to expert' takes tremendous confidence and perspective even in the healthiest environments. Accepting that you can't do everything yourself is a critical first step to delegating.

Choose the right people
Some managers fear delegation because they've been burned in the past. It's important that you pass on work to people who have the necessary skills and are motivated to get the job done right. Ideally, you should be able to delegate some form of work to everyone on your team. If you push work as far down the hierarchy as possible, you will free up time and help all your staff members grow

Integrate delegation into what you already do
Delegation shouldn't be yet another task. Make it part of your process for creating staff development plans. Discuss which types of projects and tasks you will pass on to them so that they can build the skills they need.

Ask others to hold you accountable
Give your direct reports permission to call you out when you haven't delegated something you should.
Also, let them know that they're responsible for their own growth and if they see a project they want to take on, they should ask for it.

Really let go

After you delegate, your job as a manager is to observe and support your direct reports, not dictate what they
do. Develop their critical thinking skills so they become better at intervening in their own situations. Give your employees space. Be careful though. It's possible to be too hands off. Don't walk away from a task you've delegated. Stay involved but let your employee lead the way.

Learn from experience
Once you've started delegating more, pay attention to the results, and learn from your mistakes. Ask yourself how you can tweak your approach. Can you delegate more involved tasks? Should you give your direct reports more freedom? Do you need to monitor progress more closely? Be patient with yourself while you


  1. The better the manager the more she/he delegates. Builds trust, skills, team work, confidence and efficiency. AND there is a huge difference between delegating and dumping/shirking work.

  2. We must therefore, be confident that the general measures we have adopted will produce the results we expect. Most important in this connection is the trust we must have in our lieutenants. Consequently, it is important to choose me (ore women if you are on!) on whom we can rely and to put aside ALL OTHER CONSIDERATIONS...

    ...this is from one of my "Rules to Live By"..!

  3. I have worked for folks who found it VERY HARD to delegate, without looking over your shoulder.


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