Delegation

Resources for better delegation


Donna Rae Scheffert is a management and leadership consultant with thirty years of experience working with individuals and groups striving for high performance.

The Art of Delegating

“Followers contribute more than 80% to the success of any organization.” Robert Kelley, The Power of Followership

Delegating, done well, builds team spirit, motivation, and cohesion. The power of effective management comes not from your efforts alone. It is the sum of all of the efforts of your entire team.

Delegating is a manager’s powerful tool. Do you pride yourself on your people skills? If so, do you realize that the one skill that can make a huge difference in your effectiveness is the ability to delegate well?


So, why do we have a Difficult Time Delegating?

A variety of reasons exist including:
You’re too busy and just don’t have enough time.

You don’t trust others to complete their tasks correctly or on time.

You don’t think about delegating or know how to do it effectively.

Do you buy into one of the 10 Myths?

1. You can’t trust other people to be responsible.

2. When you delegate, you lose control of a task and its outcome.

3. You’re the only one who has all of the answers.

4. You can do the work faster by yourself.

5. Delegation dilutes your authority.

6. The company recognizes others for doing a good job and not you.

7. Delegation reduces your flexibility.

8. Other people are too busy.

9. Other people don’t see the big picture.

10. Delegation is more problematic than of value.

Why not take the Six Steps to Delegation?


1. Determine who to give a task to - recruit stars when you can; train people with potential when you can’t.

2. Communicate the task – Describe what you want done, when you want it done, and what end results you expect. Ask for questions.

3. Furnish context for the task – explain why it needs to be done, its importance in the overall scheme of things, and potential complications that could arise.

4. Grant authority – clarify the decision making process. You must grant the authority necessary to complete the task without constant roadblocks or plateaus of work. Clarify when to check with you about obstacles as they arise.

5. Provide support – determine and provide the resources necessary for the people to complete the task. This may include supplies, training, connections to others, etc.

6. Get commitment – make sure the other person has accepted the assignment. End your conversation confirming your expectations. Ask the other person to restate their understanding of the task they have taken on.

What are the Five Things to Always Delegate to Others

1. Detail work – double checking pages, putting labels onto file folders, troubleshooting a computer problem……20% of the results come from 80% of the work

2. In-depth information gathering - browsing the web for names and addresses of key contacts,

3. Repetitive assignments – the jobs that occur again and again can usually be drafted or done by someone else because the process is clear

4. Surrogate roles – roles where others can fill in for you; announcing events,

5. Future duties – allowing someone to assist you can give them a taste of what goes into the task. They are then better able to take it over in the future.

What are the Six Things to Avoid Delegating to Others?

1. Long-term vision and goals – every contributor can’t decide what direction the organization should move. The organization is much more effective when everyone moves together in the same direction.

2. Positive performance feedback – recognizing and rewarding people when they do good work is an essential task.

3. Performance discipline and coaching – you must set aside time for communication and goal setting with people

4. Politically sensitive situations – these demand your utmost attention and expertise, and you want to be cautious of a potentially explosive situation

5. Personal assignments – if your supervisor asks you specifically to complete something, this is likely because you have an unique perspective or skill

6. Confidential or sensitive circumstances – you are privy to information due to your authority and responsibility, for example, personnel or salary data.

What do you do when Delegation Goes Wrong?


1. Increase personal follow-up.

2. Ask for regular progress reports.

3. Increase monitoring by keeping closer track of their performance.

4. Coaching by openly discussing the problems and developing a plan to correct them.

5. Rescind authority if problems continue despite efforts to solve them.

6. Rescind authority only when someone is not, or cannot do their assigned tasks. Give the tasks to people who are better suited to perform them successfully.

How do you run the Time Clock for Delegation?


Just as a quarterback keeps a kind of a running clock in his head that tells him how much time he has to get rid of the ball by throwing it or handing it off, as a leader, you have to keep multiple clocks going in your head to let you know how to complete a play successfully.

You ultimately want to be able to pass along anything that doesn’t impair or hinder your ability to leader or that will interfere with your ability to make decisions at a critical time.

You can keep the clock in at least two ways. The first way is to develop a specific project timeline. The art of setting deadlines is to understand that they are artificial so you may want to advance deadlines a bit. This gives some work room in case problems arise.

The second way to keep the clock is to set up a series of check-in points. Team meetings can also be set-up. Many people push to accomplish tasks before a public commitment.

More Resources on Delegation

Delegation Info
Sharon Gazda
Susan Heathfield


Leadership Tools

Facilitation. Training. Strategic Planning.

Donna Rae Scheffert

809 Mayflower Ct.

Northfield, MN 55057

Let me assist you and your organization. Call me at 612.360.4484