5 Successful Delegation Keys

One of the signs of a good leader is to delegate, to delegate often, and to delegate to the appropriate person. So how can one do that with success on a regular basis?

Here are some tips that should help a leader to do just that:
  1. Use clear, open, and honest communication: be sure that the individual understands what is expected of them, the scope of their roles and responsibilities, and the specific time frame in which this job is expected to be completed.
  2. Assign the job not the work: do not micromanage, because when you delegate the job and trust (if you have chosen the right person) that this team member can handle this assignment; then you should just allow them to do it their way. If you do that you will empower them to be innovative and autonomous.   Besides, it will free you up to do the work that no one else can do but you!
  3. Provide training: employees feel appreciated and supported when they are offered the opportunity to either improve or upgrade current their skills or to learn new ones. Your most valuable resource is your people so investing in them will reap great benefits both for them and for the organization.
  4. Find out how to “manage” this person: ask the individual how much support they would like for this job and how often they would like you to check back with them to see how they are doing. This lets them know that you are available if they need assistance, otherwise you trust that they can do what has been assigned to them.
  5. Show appreciation: everyone likes to be acknowledged for their contribution. Be sure to thank the person when their job is completed. If warranted, a small reward (bonus, time off, etc.) may be in order and that sort of recognition is always appreciated. Realizing that their efforts have been noticed and that their contribution was valued can greatly increase this person’s self-confidence and self-esteem as well as their respect for you and the company.

When you empower people to be able to do their jobs in their own way and do them well, the happiness factor in your workplace will greatly increase.   When that happens, the team productivity, efficiency, and creativity also increase and all of those factors will likely be reflected in your bottom line!


Sandy Chernoff
Sandy Chernoff
SANDY'S 30 years of didactic and clinical teaching in study clubs and continuing dental education, coupled with her almost 40 years of Dental Hygiene practice bring a wealth of experience to her interactive soft skills workshops. With her education background she easily customizes interactive sessions to suit the specific needs of her clients. Her energetic and humorous presentation style has entertained and informed audiences from Victoria to New York City. Sandy’s client list includes law firms, teaching institutions, volunteer and professional organizations and conferences, businesses, and individuals. Her newest project is turning her live workshops into e-learning programs using an LMS platform. Her teaching and education background have helped her to produce meaningful and somewhat interactive courses for the learners wanting the convenience of e-learning options. As the author of 5 Secrets to Effective Communication, Sandy has demonstrated her ability to demystify the complexities of communication so that the reader can learn better strategies and approaches which will greatly improve their communication skills and ultimately reduce conflict, resentment, disappointment, complaining, and confusion. As a result, the reader will be able to increase productivity, efficiency and creativity, improve all the relationships in their lives and ultimately enjoy a happier, healthier existence! Sandy blogs regularly on her two websites on the various soft skills topics that are featured in her workshops and e-learning programs.

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    • Hi Chris,
      I think not, this more lucky for the leader and he/she should know that the person will be appropriate for the task. I agree that delegating and volunteering are not the same!

  1. I’ve worked with managers that delegate things that he didn’t want to do. And make sure he was always doing things he liked to do. What made it tough was that he was always doing stuff he wasn’t good at. When he made a real mess of things, he would delegate it to someone in the final hours. Guess what happened then.

    • No problem is they choose to delegate things they do not want to do, but they must select someone who they truly feel will want to do it and do it well. The truth is they actually are the ones who look bad if they have not delegated well as they are ultimately responsible for the work of their team.
      Delegating is a real art and managers who are not good at it need to learn the basics of this aspect of their responsibility so that everyone wins instead of the opposite.
      Many organizations do not have proper managerial training programs and some people get put into that position, not because they have the appropriate skills, but rather because the were in the right place at the right time, have been with the company a long time or are good at what they do so are assumed to know how to be a good manager.
      All of the above are very sad situations that do not require rocket science to fix….especially if the new manager is eager and willing to learn the skills necessary to help them to be good at their new position.

    • I agree on all points. My bias is the priorities manager use to delegate. Managers must know both their and their team’s competencies and bandwidth. From there, they delegate accordingly. If a manager is more competent than the subordinate, then the manager has a choice.

      1. The manager does the work.
      2. The manager delegates the work to the subordinate to produce inferior work.
      3. The manager restructures the work so the subordinate produces high quality work
      4. Rather than restructuring, the manager hires or develops a subordinate to produce high quality work.

      Me not doing something because I don’t want to is the wrong mindset to delegate. It’s an emotional response that blindsides us from making the proper choices. We also tend to treat the activity as one of a lower value, even when it’s critical for the organization.

    • Again, many managers are not given the training they need to be effective in this position. When I run managerial training programs I always include a delegation piece so that they learn how important this is in their job and how to do it effectively. Many people are just set up to fail when put in this position as they are not offered the opportunity to fully understand their roles and responsibilities nor do they have the skills to be good in those roles.
      Some organizations are good and people who are identified as managerial material are put through a proper training program. However, honestly and sadly, that is not the general rule.
      So what you describe often happens due to a lack of knowledge and skills. In addition, managers must get to know their people as that is how they will know who to delegate to and how to manage them well. So, you are correct, and their are reasons why you are correct.

    • I’m curious which kind of management training you (your firm) does. There are different flavors of management. There is the ones that meld management with leadership and culture. There are others that focus on setting up the environment for strong relationships and bonds And then others that focus on production.

      As part of our training, we use a series of workshops to discuss and test what are the best management approaches that would fit within our clients’ organizations. We call it “data-driven management”.

    • Hi Chris,
      The type of management training I deliver is dependent upon the culture of the organization and what they wish to accomplish. I always customize my content, exercises and scenarios to suit the specific needs of each client. I rarely run the exact same workshop twice and each client has different needs and expectations. So I think we approach this sort of training in a similar manner.

  2. Thank you Sandy. I like that you said provide training. Delegating to someone that has no idea how to do the task I regret to say happens often. I feel that some manager delegate to improve knowledge and develop the person they are delegating to. The flip side is they are delegating because they are lazy or they don’t know how to do it.