Ways to Delegate Leadership: Complete with Do’s and Don’ts

Leading a team of professionals in the workplace often involves making important decisions and completing time-sensitive work. When feel yourself getting behind on work-related responsibilities and struggling to finish what needs to be done during normal business hours, you have to make a choice. You either have to work more hours or decide to delegate.


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Why should you delegate work?

When you delegate work, you allow others to think for themselves and ask important questions. There are many benefits of sharing your workload with team members. Not only will you get the satisfaction of watching people learn something new, but you’ll also increase your chances of finishing projects on time. Plus, you’ll have more energy because you’re not working overtime trying to get things done.


Basics of delegation in leadership

Assuming a leadership position will involve delegation at some point. You may struggle at first when delegating the work you’re responsible for. This is completely normal. Just remember that delegating some of your tasks may help everyone become more efficient at work. The simplest way you can delegate is by assigning specific tasks to your employees, then letting them complete the work. Delegation empowers employees to succeed.


Related: 7 Effective Skills to Help You Become a Better Leader


Best practices for delegation in leadership

Now that you’ve chosen to delegate some of your work to other employees, you may wonder about the best way to implement your request. Being confident in your delegation choices shows others that you’re not afraid to get help from your team. By following the best practices for delegation in leadership, you’ll be positioned for greatness.  


  1. Start small
  2. Define how you measure success
  3. Develop a priority system for tasks
  4. Delegate based on skill
  5. Provide clear instructions
  6. Take time to teach
  7. Show trust
  8. Encourage feedback
  9. balance the delegation
  10. Explain why it matters


1. Start small

Do: Start by delegating the small tasks first before handing off the bigger projects. You’ll be able to monitor your coworkers’ progress and get a feel for how the new workload affects them. This may even turn into an opportunity for promotion. 


Don’t: Hand off your biggest project to someone who has never dealt with a task of that magnitude before. 


2. Define how you measure success

Do: Meet as a team to discuss how you plan to evaluate the performance of your employees and make plans for measuring success. Employees work more efficiently when they have clear expectations. If you tell them ahead of time that you’ll be asking for weekly updates, they’ll have the freedom to decide how to spend their time.


Don’t: Give your employees work without setting a deadline or goal for completion.


3. Develop a priority system for tasks

Do: Consider how you might create a priority system for everyone to follow so they know what to work on first. Some work projects are time-sensitive and take priority over other tasks.


Don’t: Give someone an important task and avoid telling them when it’s due. 


4. Delegate based on skill

Do: Take some time to think about which members of your team would do the job well and in a timely manner. Employees have different skill sets that help them excel in their individual roles. Based on your assessment, approach people who possess the right skills for the job.


Don’t: Give tasks to employees just because they have the least amount of work to do.

5. Provide clear instructions

Do: Give clear instructions on how to perform tasks in the beginning. Tasks that seem obvious will likely not be obvious to your coworkers. 


Don’t: Expect someone to know how to do something without giving them the details.


6. Take time to teach

Do: Expect to spend time teaching your employees how to perform the given tasks. They’ll likely have many questions at first and need additional guidance from you. Think of this time as an educational investment in the company’s future and in the employee’s career skills. 


Don’t: Neglect to provide support when needed.


Related: How to Start a Mentor Program


7. Show trust

Do: Allow your team to complete the work without hovering over their desks. Successful leaders know employees prefer to complete work on their own terms, but don’t mind an occasional check-in to verify progress. 


Don’t: Be the micromanager in the office. Strong leaders trust their employees to work largely unsupervised.


8. Encourage feedback

Do: Let your employees know you encourage feedback. Be clear that you mean to give feedback, as well as receive it. Offer praise when appropriate and additional guidance to help them if they fail to meet deadlines. 


Don’t: Neglect your employees and discourage open communication. 


9. Balance the delegation

Do: Think of ways to create a balanced approach when delegating your work. This allows everyone to assume a variety of tasks that keep them motivated and focused. Some tasks may be monotonous and boring. Others may provide an interesting challenge and an opportunity to refine an individual’s skills. 


Don’t: Keep giving the same person the same tasks. 


10. Explain why it matters

Do: Take time to sit with your team and explain how their roles help the company achieve success. They may not fully understand why they are being asked to take on more work, but will be more open to change once they’ve been told.


Don’t: Expect people to be eager for more work if they don’t understand why they’re getting it. 


Delegating Leadership FAQs

Even though you’ve reviewed our best practices for delegating leadership, you may still have some additional questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions:


What does delegating leadership mean?

Delegating leadership is a style of leading where a supervisor or leader assigns work duties to their team members and gives them space to accomplish their projects. This allows people to assume some of their leader’s responsibilities while having access to support if needed. 


How do you decide which tasks to delegate?

You should delegate administrative tasks that are time-consuming or a bit out of your comfort zone to people who may be more skilled in your project requirements.


Why is delegating important for teams?

Delegation is important for the teams who share the work because it provides them with opportunities to learn something new and be creative. It also helps people feel valued when they are trusted with special requests.


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