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Management Training: Tips for Delegating

03 July 2013

Working on the basis that managers are only as effective as the people that work for them (a sobering thought for many but definitely true!), the art of delegation is an essential tool for managers to perfect. But what is delegation exactly and how should you delegate?

First of all, let us consider the distinction between allocation and delegation. Allocation involves giving work for others to complete to a certain standard and one might reasonably expect those individuals to take responsibility for this work.  Delegation also involves giving work for others to complete and again one would hope they would take on some accountability for this. The key distinction lies in the fact that with allocation, you are giving out tasks whereas with delegation, you are giving out your own tasks for somebody else to deliver.

So before we start to consider delegation as an all-important and empowering management tool, where are the risks? Well in truth, there are plenty. Predominantly, if the delegated task is completed to a satisfactory outcome, the person you have delegated the work to should really be getting the credit. Should the task not quite go to plan however, then by rights you get the pain!

You may also consider the fact that at this moment in time you don’t have anybody you feel you can delegate to as they don’t have the necessary skill set or experience. You may worry that they may do too good a job and expose your own performance, or perhaps feel guilty about offloading your own work as they themselves are busy.

So what are the benefits of delegation? Well, for starters, we have already established that managers are only as good as the people that work for them so delegation is one excellent way of looking to develop your teams skill set. You may also wish to consider how delegation will assist you with succession planning and ultimately how in the long term it will free up some of your own time to work on other projects.

So how should you delegate? Here are a few tips:

  • Make a to do list and then consider which tasks can or cannot be delegated
  • Identify one of the tasks that can be delegated and allocate the task to somebody
  • Communicate the task using an appropriate leadership style –e.g. if the task is for somebody experienced you may wish to use more of a hands off leadership style
  • Set up a control mechanism for you to stay on track of the progress, in line with your chosen leadership style for this task
  • Deliver the all-important feedback afterwards

For more tips on delegating, or to learn more about our delegation training, please call us on 01295 675506 for a free consultation.

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