How to Delegate - the Fast & Effective way

How to delegate. Learn the fastest, most effective delegation process! Effective delegation is a key management skill. Free up your time and empower your project management team using this process.

As a manager or a Project Manager the temptation to 'just do it yourself' is very attractive particularly when you are busy. Often it feels like it will take more time to tell someone what to do, than it will to just do it yourself. Frequently we believe that no one else will do a task to the same level of quality that we will.

The problem is that if you don't delegate nothing will change, you will stay rushed off your feet, and your team won't have opportunities to take ownership and won't feel like they can progress in their careers. Luckily there is a clear process that you can follow which will ensure the work gets done and will free you up to get on with strategic planning and truly leading.

What is the process for effective delegation?

Delegation Process

1. Choose an appropriate task:

Split your upcoming tasks into four categories:
  1. urgent and important,
  2. non-urgent and important,
  3. urgent and non-important,
  4. non-urgent and non-important.
Tasks in categories 3 and 4 should be delegated immediately! Seriously why would you spend your precious time on them? Delegate these tasks now and set your team a challenge to automate or eliminate them if they can.

Categories 1 and 2, can also be delegated, but your delegation will need a little more planning, more on this later.

Although you will want to manage your time so that your effort is mostly in the non-urgent and important category, these tasks still have plenty of scope for delegation and will probably include more responsibility, which means job enrichment for your team.

2. Choosing an appropriate person:

Ask questions like:
  • Which tasks can team members do as well or better than me?
  • Which tasks will develop individuals?
  • Which tasks are routine, which tasks will appeal to team members?
It may also help to produce a work diary over at least three days and then split the work to see what fits the questions above.

Finally think about the benefits to the person you are delegating to as well as the benefits to you.

3. Planning for delegation and setting objectives

Set clear objectives that are specific, measurable, agreed, realistic, and time-bound. They can also be exciting and rewarding. Think about all the information the person will need.

Answer: who? what? when? how?

Make sure the necessary authority is given and all the necessary resources are available.

4. Implement delegation

Brief the team member on their objectives and gain their commitment to the task.
  • Ask open questions to check their understanding and their commitment.
  • Ask them how they feel and how they think they might approach the task.

5. Monitor delegation

Keep track of progress. This can be through regular agreed reviews or through informal chats. Make sure you are available to support the team member.

6. Review and evaluate

Give feedback on performance. Constructive feedback is vital for the development of your team and feedback sessions should be handled sensitively using a coaching model like GROW.

Following this Delegation process will help you to delegate without worrying and your team will appreciate the opportunity to develop their skills and will start to take on more responsibility.

How to Delegate - Further reading


Effective Communication

Finding a New Job Mind Map

Managing and Motivating Teams

How to smash any job interview question using STAR - a how to guide