How Well Do You Delegate?

By Gbenga Edison                             Published on on June 2nd, 2022 

Photo by Helena Lopes

When you first assumed the role of team lead, it’s highly likely that one of the most important — and exciting — aspects was having a larger staff to work with. The opportunity to work with and lead others toward a common goal is truly one of the best aspects of this career path. But now that you’re in charge, you might be feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of tasks on your plate. It’s time to consider delegating some of your responsibilities. How can you do that? Well, I’ve put together a guide for getting started on how to delegate effectively so you can keep moving forward with your team while also getting ahead as an individual contributor and leader.

Before we go any further, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page about what delegation means. Delegation is NOT telling people what to do or how to do it; instead, it’s assigning tasks that people can accomplish with minimal supervision from you. As a manager, this will allow you more time for other things like strategizing and thinking long-term instead of micromanaging every little thing.

Delegation is an incredibly important skill when it comes to being an effective team leader or manager within any organization. Leaders who are able to delegate successfully are more likely than others to see improved results from their teams overall. So if you want your group to perform at its best and reach its full potential, learning how to effectively delegate tasks is critical!

Delegation is a core part of leading others: It allows for more people to step up and take ownership over their areas of focus, which results in better outcomes for everyone involved as well as more opportunities for growth. Delegation doesn’t come naturally for everyone; many people struggle with knowing when and how much to delegate when first starting out as team leads or managers.

Delegation is a tough thing to do, especially if you’re used to doing everything yourself. But when you’re working with a team, it’s important that you let go of some of the things that aren’t your responsibility.

Do you have trouble delegating? A lot of people do.

Here are some common reasons why:

  • You don’t trust others to do it right
  • You’re worried about people taking advantage of you
  • You think it’ll take too much time to explain what needs to be done
  • You’re afraid that if you delegate, it’ll make your job harder later on

All of these reasons are valid, but they can all be solved — it just takes some practice and some commitment to change. Here’s how:

  1. Start small — just try delegating one small task at first and see how it goes! It’s easier to get used to the idea when it’s not something overwhelming.
  2. Give clear instructions and make sure whoever you’re delegating to has all the information they need to get started. If they don’t understand what’s expected of them or what they should be doing, they won’t be able to do a good job.
  3. Don’t hold back because you think things will be better if you do them yourself — they won’t! Trusting others is important in any workplace environment; if everyone is doing their part well, then everyone wins!

Sharing the Workload to Get More Done

Sharing the workload is a great way to get more done. It can also be a great way to achieve a wide variety of goals: increased productivity, better communication, and even improved morale. When it comes to sharing the workload, there are three strategies to focus on:

  1. Be proactive about dividing up tasks. This means being clear about what each person needs to do as soon as possible after assigning them a task. Make sure everyone knows exactly what they need to accomplish and how long they have until they need it done by so there are no surprises later down the line when things start falling behind schedule due to unexpected delays or changes in project scope (which happens more often than we’d like).
  2. Create an environment where people feel comfortable asking questions about their responsibilities or clarification on where their tasks fit into the bigger picture within your company/organization so there aren’t any surprises
  3. Be open and honest with each other about the workload — this is key for everyone to feel included and cared for in your team environment!

To increase productivity in your organization or business, consider using one of these tools:

  • A calendar where everyone can see what’s being worked on at any given time
  • A project management tool like Notion, Trello, Asana, ClickUp or Basecamp that allows multiple members from different departments to collaborate on projects

How Good Is Your Delegation?

What does delegation look like? It depends on your needs and the people on your team. Some companies delegate by asking employees to handle specific tasks at certain times, while others simply assign projects and let people figure out how they’ll get them done. Whatever approach you take, make sure you have clear expectations, clearly defined goals, and constant communication with each other. You need all of these things so no one feels overwhelmed or confused about what they’re supposed to be doing or when they’re supposed to do it.

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you’re not sure whether or not your delegation skills are where they should be:

  • Are you able to delegate tasks? If so, can they be done with minimal supervision?
  • Do people take ownership of their assignments and make an effort to complete them in a timely fashion?
  • Do they ask questions when necessary and seek clarification when confused about something?
  • Does everyone involved feel heard and valued as part of the process?

What and When to Delegate

Start by identifying what you can delegate, and when. Decide how to delegate it, to whom, and provide them with the resources and knowledge they need.

I’ve found that there are several questions I can ask myself when considering delegating a task:

  1. Is this task something I’m good at?
  2. Does my team have the skills needed to complete it?
  3. How much time will this take me?
  4. How much will I learn from doing this myself?
  5. Who might enjoy taking on this task?
  6. Do we have enough resources available right now in order for them to do it well?

It’s not enough to just throw out a task and expect someone else to handle it. You need to give them the tools they need to do the job well.

The first step is identifying what you can delegate. This may sound obvious, but there are often tasks in your job that you don’t actually HAVE to do yourself or that you CAN delegate if you know how.

And then once you’ve identified what can be delegated, think about how it should be delegated. That means deciding who will do the task, what resources they’ll need (like equipment or software), and what knowledge they’ll need (like training or tips).

Don’t delegate tasks just to get them off your plate — this will result in people who don’t really want to help out, and it won’t be as efficient. If you need a report done in two hours, you don’t want to spend 30 minutes trying to explain what you need to get done, you might want to do it yourself.

For example, if there’s some kind of paperwork that needs to be filled out and sent to a client, it’s not always necessary for YOU to fill it out and send it — you can hire someone else to do it. Or maybe there’s an article that needs writing, but you’re not the best writer or the most qualified person for the job — you could hire someone else to write it instead.

There’s no need to feel overwhelmed or stressed out thinking about this kind of thing — just try to focus on what parts of your job you really enjoy doing and which parts could be done by someone else without compromising quality or efficiency.

How to Delegate

No matter what leadership style you adopt, when you delegate a project to your team, you want them to complete it promptly and to your satisfaction. To achieve that goal, you need to provide clear instructions.

The key to delegation is being clear about exactly what you want and how much time, money, and effort it will take. If you’re not sure what the deliverable should be or how much time a task should take to complete, it’s not ready for delegation yet.

  • Be clear about what you want. State the objective. Specifically, state what you expect the team member to accomplish with this project. You can use bullet points if necessary.
  • Be clear about the deadline. Outline the scope. In addition to stating what you expect from the team member, outline how much time is allotted for the project and any other important details (e.g., budget). A good rule of thumb is that it should take no longer than 10 minutes to read through all of these details — any longer than that, and they’re likely to be too long-winded or confusing for someone who’s not well versed in that particular field of work.
  • Be clear about the deliverable (what do they have to produce?).
  • Be clear about the time frame for task completion (when do you need it by?)
  • Provide additional resources: If there are any other resources available online (e.g., websites) where they can find more information about how best to complete this task, include links so they don’t have to go out searching on their own!

You may think that asking questions like these exposes weakness in your leadership abilities — but this is actually an important part of delegating effectively! A good leader wants feedback on how well they are delegating; if anything seems unclear or missing from your instructions, ask them until they understand exactly what they need to accomplish before assigning them any work at all!

Think about what kind of person would be best suited for this task: Is this someone who has strong organizational skills? If so, they might be good at keeping track of all the tasks delegated by other people in their department. Or is this someone who thrives under pressure? If so, they might be good at taking on more responsibilities than they’re used to handling themselves (and therefore less likely to fall behind).

Who to Delegate to

There are many reasons why you may be hesitant to delegate. You’re afraid that someone else will get the job done better than you, or that they will do something incorrectly. You may also just not have time to do everything yourself, or even know what needs to be done in the first place. But saving money isn’t the only reason for delegating tasks — it can also help build morale and make your employees feel good about themselves. By empowering them with responsibility and allowing them to take ownership of their projects, you’re setting them up for success!

The people who are best suited for delegation are those who have been given responsibilities commensurate with their skill set and experience level (this is called “job match”). If a new employee has just started working at your company, they may not be ready yet — but don’t worry! That doesn’t mean they can’t grow into a position where they can handle more work; it just means that right now might not be the right time for them either way (you might want them to focus on learning new things).

As long as there aren’t any conflicts of interest between yourself and whoever else might need to do some tasks around here then go ahead! Don’t forget though: sometimes there could potentially be a conflict between different teams within an organization — so if this happens then make sure everyone knows what kind of workflow agreement exists between different departments before assigning work outside your own team boundaries!”


To be more productive, you need to work smarter and not harder. One of the best ways to do this is by getting others involved and delegating tasks appropriately. However, it isn’t as simple as just handing over your to-do list and assuming that everything will get done right on time. Instead, you need to understand who should be handling what — as well as when it should be done by — in order for everyone else involved (including yourself) to benefit from being part of a team effort. There are many different ways you can go about delegation that might suit your particular needs better than any other approach out there, so don’t feel like there’s only one way!

Gbenga Edison's Medium Account: CLICK HERE




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