How to Delegate Tasks Successfully | 120 Seconds to Better Leadership

Most of the executives that I know tend to not delegate as much as they should. Delegation is really important so that we’re only using our time to the highest and best use of our time. And delegation is an important way to develop those beneath us to take on larger and larger tasks.

Why Most Executives Don’t Delegate

So, lots of reasons to be afraid of delegating. Some people don’t delegate because it gives them a feel of a loss of control. Some people really like being in the tasks and doing things and checking those things off their list. Some people don’t trust the people that they’re delegating to. So, all good reasons not to delegate, but here’s something that may help. When you delegate, if you just hand a person a task it can make them feel out of control, like that task is gone, it’s no longer in your control. And the fear is it either won’t get done, or it won’t get done to your specifications.

The Right Way to Delegate

If you break delegation, especially with someone new that you maybe don’t have a ton of trust in yet, break those big tasks down into smaller chunks, so that – and then set deadlines, so, “I’d like to see this portion of the project done within two weeks, I’m counting on you to follow up with me.” That way you know in two weeks you’re gonna know how the project’s going. And so you know it’s not just gonna be lost – unless they don’t follow up, in which case you’ve got a discipline problem, not a delegation problem.

And then, on those larger tasks you’ve gotten an opportunity to work iteratively and give feedback step by step along the way, so that if they do go off course, they don’t get too far before you have a meeting and you have a chance to course-correct them. So, try using that as a way to delegate to take things off your plate that shouldn’t be there and help develop those beneath you.