The best leaders are masters at delegation. Why? They know how to empower their teams to get work done. But it’s not only about getting work done or knowing how to share tasks in the best way. It’s also about creating an environment where employees are proud of their work and can call it their own. These are the critical pieces to learning how to delegate work effectively.
What Is Delegating?
In short, delegating is allocating the right work to the right people. Delegating work is about sharing a task and decision-making responsibilities to increase others’ commitment, accelerate results, and build capability.
The delegating leadership style, one of the four leadership styles covered in the situational leadership model, is about managers sharing authority and responsibility with their employees.
The Cost of Not Delegating
The reluctance of leaders to delegate carries a steep cost. As leaders take on more work, they get overwhelmed and stressed. They may even burn out completely and quit. 70% of leaders surveyed under the age of 35 report feeling used up at the end of every day, with rates even higher among women and minorities.
At the same time, their team is likely also frustrated. They don’t feel like they’re contributing enough, nor do they have the authority to do their work as they see fit. They’ll likely end up disengaged or start polishing up their resumes for another role.
What to Consider Before You Delegate Work
Delegation has to go beyond simply assigning a task. It has to be done thoughtfully, with the right balance of direction from the leader.
Here’s what to consider before you delegate work:
- What’s the desired output? What will the completed task look like? How will you judge whether it is completed well or not?
- What’s the importance of the task? How important is this assigned task to the team? How important is this assigned task to the company?
- Are you delegating authority appropriately? What key decisions will need to be made during the project? Will the person or team have the authority to make critical decisions?
- To whom should you delegate the work? Who has the skills to complete this work? Who has the motivation? Is there anyone who might be interested in the work that you haven’t considered before? What are the benefits to the person completing this delegated task?
- What’s the method of sharing work? Will you have a meeting to generate ideas or to define the task further with the person? What is the delegation process? Have clear expectations been given?
- How will you assess the results of the tasks you’ve delegated? How will you give feedback along the way? How will you ensure that the criteria is clear for what success looks like?
If the leader is struggling to answer these questions, then they should re-evaluate if the task should actually be delegated.
Source: DDI, 2023
“Delegation is not about micromanaging, its about trusting others to do their best work”.
Did you know this about disc?
DiSC is an assessment that aids with effective communication
This fun, interactive feature helps teams work better together. By combining DiSC with actionable group insights, teams build cohesion while adapting their behaviors for optimal performance. Learners can create multiple groups, plot members on a DiSC map, and shed light on team dynamics that influence results.