Effective Delegation: An Easy to Use Tool

When you’re overwhelmed, stressed, and busy, you know the natural answer is to delegate more. But there’s a risk. When you’re moving fast it’s easy to get sloppy or overbearing in your delegation: (see 3 delegation mistakes you don’t have to make). That’s why I’ve created this easy checklist for you to use the next time your delegating an important task. I’ve listed the questions here, but you can also download in a checklist form:  free PDF for easy use with your team. 

Questions to Ask Yourself When Delegating

Before Delegating

  • Does the person I’ve selected have the knowledge, skills and resources necessary to do this task?
  • Does this person have bandwidth to do this task (do I need to help them prioritize)?
  • Are there any roadblocks (e.g. political, funding, approvals) I need to help remove to make this task possible?

In Delegation Conversation

  • Have I explained why this task is important?
  • Have I clearly articulated the “finish line”–what’s to be accomplished by when?
  • Have I left room for the employee to determine the best way to get the task accomplished (delegated outcomes, not process)?
  • Have I checked for understanding and heard the employee state what needs to be accomplished by when?
  • Have I established clear accountability checkpoints and a mutual appointment to review the completed task?

After Completion

  • Have I said “Thank you?”
  • Have we had any needed conversations about lessons learned or process improvements?

Note: This is an in-progress tool we are testing as supplemental resource to our book coming out in early Spring. Would love your feedback on how it can be improved.

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Posted in Results & Execution and tagged , , .

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt, is CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders and a former Verizon Wireless executive. Karin was named on Inc.’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference, the American Management Association List of 50 Leaders to Watch, and as a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust. She’s the award-winning author of two books, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results— Without Losing Your Soul, and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss. She’s regularly featured in business publications including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc.

6 Comments

  1. Excellent post with great questions to think about in delegation! When I work with managers I find it helpful to look at delegation as an opportunity for a direct report to try out some new skills. In one of my classes a manager said she felt bad about having someone do a task that she might not have time for. We talked through it and she realized that although the task seemed routine or monotonous for her, it was actually a learning experience for the team member.

    Thanks Karin!! I will definitely share!

    • Terri, Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I find “feeling bad” to be one of the main reasons people don’t delegate. Great to dig deeper.

  2. One of the biggest questions I ask myself when delegating a task is this: “Will this person be able to speak with my voice?”

    Getting someone to complete a task is not that hard—and you give excellent pointers in this article. But, to have someone go out and represent your brand as a leader, that is quite different. I tended to look for folks who were strong in the areas that I was weak—but not so strong that we were not speaking the same language.

    I needed to trust them before I had confidence in them…

    Another great leadership article…

    • LaRae, Yes! I so agree! That could be a post in itself. Thanks for extending the conversation.

  3. Excellent post Karin! I am always talking about the power of delegation. Your post provides some great tips on what you should do before, during and after delegation. EXCELLENT. I am sharing with my community!

    • Cynthia, thanks so much. Does your approach involve buying them a cup of coffee first ;-)?

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