How to Delegate the Right Work to the Right People

In my previous post I talked about 9 things that stop managers from delegating and also discussed the negative effects of holding onto work that should be delegated. In this post I give managers a set of tools so you can successfully let go of control and delegate in a way that works for you.

delegating skills for managers

Full disclosure: There is an up-front time investment. If you want to delegate and you want to do it well, set aside an hour or possibly two to use these tools. Given the time challenges most of us have, it might feel impossible to set aside time to figure out how to delegate. But when you learn to delegate and delegate well, you’ll be freeing up a lot more time in your schedule.

1. Inventory Your Activities

Keep a list of your daily activities, including the time spent on each, for one week. At the end of five days, separate the strategic activities associated with your leader/manager role from the tasks/meetings that you may be able to delegate to someone on your staff, or transfer to a peer (if appropriate for their role) or to an administrative assistant. Notice how much time you are spending on tasks that could be given away.

2. Evaluate Your Activity Costs and Benefits

Now it’s time to analyze.

In Column 1, list the activities that you could give away. In Column 2, cite the benefit to holding on to that activity. In Column 3, cite the cost (to you and/or to the organization) of you holding on to that activity. In Column 4, list the reason # (this list is found in the previous post) that you might be holding onto that activity.

Activity Benefit Cost Reason #

On the chart above, look at the benefits and costs and choose which activities you could or should be delegating.

3. Make Your Delegation Plan

On the chart below, start with the activity you want to give away and the individual to whom you want to give it. Next, assess the skill level of the individual for that particular activity, which then lets you know how much mentoring involvement is needed from you or others.

For example, you might have a brilliant direct report who delivers outstanding work in some areas, but whose skill level in others still needs growth. That’s the way it is with everyone – great at some tasks, still learning with others.

Activity Individual Skill Level Involvement (by you or others)

Use the numbering below to fill in the Skill Level and Involvement columns above.

Skill Level: 1-10 where 1= Novice and 10=Seasoned

Leader Involvement: 1-10 where 1=Hands Off and 10=Hands On

If mentoring from others is needed for successful delivery of the work you’re giving away, you’ll know it once you assess if your direct is nearer the Novice (#s 1-4) end of the continuum, or closer to Seasoned (#7-10) in that area when they perform the work on their own.

As the individual moves along that continuum, less and less of your or others’ time will be needed to help them during the process. In addition to your own observations, have a conversation with the individual to determine skill level and mentoring needs.

Let Go of Control and Still Get Results

Clients have told me that taking the time to put this process in action has given them exactly what they needed to let go of control and still get results. And while it did seem a bit uncomfortable at the start for some, in the end it was completely worth the effort. What can this process do for you?

Question: Do you have any delegating tips to share? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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