How to Effectively Delegate

Successful people master delegation, while mediocre performers desperately hang on to tasks which are important but better left to administrative experts. Being clear as to how you’d be more productive if you had the time is key to getting motivated about delegating. You are where you are because of your people skills, your communication skills, your leadership abilities, and your selling abilities. Effective delegating allows you, as a leader, to develop people by expanding their expertise, their independence and their areas of responsibility. The key, of course, to achieving these goals is to delegate effectively.

1. Choose the right tasks to delegate

Clearly not all tasks are good candidates for delegation. A rule of thumb that I’ve used for years is that a task which does not involve judgment is usually a good candidate for delegation. It's not that the other person can't make a decision, but you are in the position you're in because someone trusts your judgment. Ultimately the responsibility falls on your shoulders. Also, don’t delegate production-oriented activities; those stay on your plate, too.

2. Select the right individual(s) for the task

Make sure you choose a delegate whose talents match the skill set needed for the task. If necessary, rearrange delegated tasks to give the right person the time for the new task.

3. Be clear in your communications

Ever give someone a task or report to do and have them do something completely different than what you wanted? Be clear on what you're requesting and have them repeat their understanding of your request. Also, get in the habit of checking in on the progress of important tasks. (See #6 below.)

4. Make certain each person has the right tools and sufficient knowledge to use them properly

Sometimes the right person doesn't have the tools or knowledge required for the task (and they may be reluctant to admit it!). If you suspect that may be the case, make sure they know who to go to or where to go to find the information and/or tools.

5. Create accountability

There are few things worse than delegating a task and finding out it's not finished when you need it. Most of us have experienced this challenge. It's important to be clear on the importance of the deadline associated with the task. Regardless of whether the delegate "should" be on track or not, a missed deadline falls on your shoulders. You're the one who will ultimately feel the stress caused by a missed timeline. Make sure you stay on top of important delegated tasks. In addition, if you state that a task is important but then neglect to give it the attention it deserves, it reflects on your integrity. It demonstrates that you will say one thing but will do another. Do what you say you will do and say what you mean to say.

6. Provide ongoing communication and feedback

In order to ensure that your deadline is met and the work is being done properly, it's important to check in on the progress of the assignment. Course corrections are critical to the successful and timely completion of important tasks.

Effective delegation will leverage your time and your efforts. It will work to develop your team and make them more valuable, more productive and more loyal. If you want to boost your production, spend more of your time on efforts that produce and less time on tasks that are administrative.

And finally, effective delegating allows you, as a leader, to develop people by expanding their expertise, their independence and their areas of responsibility. The key, of course, to achieving these goals is to delegate effectively. There's nothing worse than delegating a task and having it done wrong, done poorly or even worse, not done at all...

By Michael Beck

Written by Michael Beck, "Head Zookeeper" at, a marketing strategies website dedicated to getting more clients, making more money, and having more fun! Receive a FREE program on recruiting & prospecting success at:

Mr. Beck's credentials include an MBA from the Wharton School of Business along with degrees in Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Michael has held a variety of executive positions including CEO, COO, CFO, EVP, VP of Finance, and VP of Business Development. In addition, he worked several years overseas as a Business Advisor to a member of the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia. He is a Founding Member of the International Association of Coaches and a Past-President of the Denver Coach Federation.

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