So you aspire to be a leader, huh? Well, the only way to achieve leadership is by guiding others to accomplish tasks. This means, at some point, you will need to delegate work to others. Great leaders are adept at delegation.
Renowned leadership expert John C. Maxwell once said, “If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.”
This post shares six tips I’ve utilized countless times to delegate work to teams effectively over the past 15 years. Following these tips will set you on the path to becoming a master delegator, reducing task overwhelm, and empowering your team.
6 Tips to Delegate Work to Teams Effectively
TIP 1 – Know What To Delegate
While reviewing my task list this week, I identified various tasks that need completion, such as writing a script for two videos, recording an intro to a Masterclass video, talking with a client for an upcoming keynote speech, creating a postcard to advertise an event, and managing hashtags on our YouTube videos. Some tasks must be done personally, but others, like the postcard or hashtags, could be delegated.
As management expert Peter Drucker advised, “Do what you do best and delegate the rest.” Identify the work you excel at and delegate tasks that others can effectively handle.
- What work do you excel at?
- What tasks could be delegated to others?
Create a task list, marking each item with an ‘M’ for yourself or a ‘D’ for delegate. However, effective delegation isn’t just about offloading undesirable tasks; it’s also about providing developmental opportunities for your team.
TIP 2 – Play to Employees’ Strengths
Consider the strengths of your team members. For example, Sami excels in building relationships and design, while Jay is proficient in computers, data, research, and video editing. Align the tasks you delegate with each team member’s strengths to enhance efficiency and satisfaction.
- Who are the people you are delegating to?
- What are their strengths?
Match these lists to your tasks, ensuring alignment between the task and the individual’s strengths for faster, more joyful, and higher-quality outcomes.
TIP 3 – Define the Desired Outcome
Merely assigning a task isn’t enough; you must articulate what success looks like. Imagine your organization as a car, and you are typically the driver. When you delegate the role of driving to someone else, they will likely ask, “Where should I drive to?” Set clear goals, standards, and completion timeframes for your team.
Studies emphasize that clear goals significantly improve task performance and satisfaction. Clearly defined outcomes help your employees understand what success looks like and contribute to higher engagement and performance.
TIP 4 – Provide Necessary Resources and Authority
Delegating a task without providing the right tools is like delegating driving without giving the keys. Ensure your team has the necessary resources, information, and authority to make decisions related to their tasks. This enhances task execution, instills a sense of ownership, and fosters responsibility.
Studies show that providing the right resources and autonomy not only improves task execution but also instills a sense of ownership and responsibility in the team.
TIP 5 – Establish a Communication Rhythm and Checkpoints
While trusting your team is essential, larger tasks require more checkpoints and communication to keep the project on track and completed on time. Tailor your approach to each team member’s needs and the complexity of the task.
As executive coach Ken Blanchard said, “None of us is as smart as all of us.” Regular communication fosters collaboration, brings diverse perspectives, and keeps everyone aligned toward the common goal.
Following tips 1-5 will make you an outstanding delegator. For the final Tip #6, it’s less of a strategy for delegation and more of a caution.
TIP 6 – Allow for Learning and Patience
Delegation and mistakes go hand in hand. Your team will make mistakes, but this is part of the learning and growth process. By delegating challenging tasks, your team will grow their skills over time.
Clearly communicate that you understand mistakes may occur and express confidence in their ability to learn and complete tasks despite errors. Be patient with their learning and growing process.
With these six tips, you’ll become a master delegator. Delegation involves more than just assigning tasks; it’s about empowering your team, setting clear goals, providing resources, maintaining communication, and fostering a learning environment. Delegation is a key component of leadership, aiding both you and your team in growing together.
Recap of the 6 tips:
- Know What To Delegate – Focus on your strengths and delegate the rest.
- Play to Employees’ Strengths – Delegate tasks that align with your team’s skills.
- Define the Desired Outcome – Be clear about what success looks like.
- Provide Necessary Resources and Authority – Empower your team with tools and autonomy.
- Establish a Communication Rhythm and Checkpoints – Keep the lines open without micromanaging.
- Allow for Learning and Patience – Embrace mistakes as learning opportunities.
Implementing these strategies will not only free up your time but also build a more capable, confident team. Delegation isn’t just about offloading work; it’s about fostering growth and trust. Delegate wisely, and watch your team—and yourself—thrive.