Website Logo
Website Logo
30 September 2015
Employee Motivation

Get Comfortable With Delegation

Do you find yourself running around all day, but getting nothing crossed off your to-do list?


Are you tempted to change your LinkedIn profile to ‘fire-fighter’ because you seem to spend your entire time attending emergencies?


And does your mobile phone have to be surgically removed from your hand at the end of the day?


Being a manager can certainly be tough, but there is one magic word that could solve all your problems. Delegation is the key skill for any manager.


Indeed the definition of a manager is someone who gets things done through other people.


Even so it’s a word many managers prefer to avoid. The excuses are many and varied: delegating might mean losing power and control; you might fear it means you’re not needed; its easier and quicker to do it yourself; and of course, the constant doubt that your team can handle this.


These are all perfectly understandable.


If you’ve been promoted to management level it’s a good bet that you’re good at your job and, as such, confident in your own skills. You think you could do a better job so you naturally start to doubt your own team’s abilities to perform. However, just because you were good at the job you’ve now been asked to manage, doesn’t automatically make you an expert manager.


Just look at the sporting world – it’s full of world class sportsmen who failed to become great trainers or managers once they retired. You need to be armed with a different set of skills. Delegation is one of the most important.


How Do You Deal With The Symptoms?


The first step to curing any problem is to deal with the symptoms. (You may want to read my recent blog here on problem solving if you feel you have some bigger challenges than delegation).


You start by addressing those issues I mentioned earlier such as a lack of faith in your team, fear of losing control or becoming surplus to requirements if the team do it too well?


You are going to have to learn to let go of things a little – to stop micro managing and start believing in your team. This may take time and require more than a little patience. In my experience, when you give people the chance to shine – they will show you what they are capable of. As a consequence your role as a manager becomes easier and more satisfying. By freeing up your own time, you can become proactive yourself and prove to your boss that he or she did the right thing in promoting you.


Here’s my guide to optimal delegation:




At some point you’ll have to take a leap of faith. Choose people who you believe can do the task and then put your faith in them. This will not always pay off, but if it doesn’t you can always fall back on your insurance policy: work with them and recommend things they can do to get the job done. Act with them, not for them, and pretty soon you’ll find you can take a step back and leave them to get on with it.




Communication is vital. Be clear and specific about what you expect and be sure your team knows what has to be done. This may require patience and understanding and you may need them to repeat back the objectives to you, so you’re clear the message has been received. With some you may need to work through the steps they’ll need to take, without doing the job for them. Then you need to walk away and leave them to get on with it. Follow up with them later in the day or the next day just to check on progress. This means you can check things are going well or help them get back on track if they’re working in the wrong direction.




Plan in advance and make certain you know what they need. Your team will need to have sufficient resources (such as time, people, information, money, assistance and authority) to get the job done. Check in on them to make sure the job isn’t bigger than you thought and requires more resources.




You don’t have to give up control instantly; this can wait until you are fully confident that the cost, timing, quantity of the project will be acceptable. Include a review meeting in their day so they have a time when they have your undivided attention. This is a chance for them to ask any questions and for you to make sure all is going according to plan. This will also free up more of your time, as it will stop people coming to you every five minutes with queries, leaving you with longer periods of time to develop your own, proactive projects.


This is Delegation not Abdication


Strike the right balance. Just as there are some managers who don’t delegate enough there are others who do too much. As you become confident in your team it can be tempting to overdo it and take too much of a step back. As such, you might leave them alone with insufficient resources or support to get the job done.


Similarly there are always some aspects of management that cannot be delegated such as performance feedback, commercially sensitive tasks or disciplinary action. Yes, some of these may be uncomfortable or unpleasant, but they’re all part and parcel of the management job.


At the end of the day, you can delegate responsibility but not accountability.


Their Success Is Your Success


Finally, let’s remember where we started. The definition of a manager is someone who gets things done through other people.


You are the leader of a team that will succeed or fail together. Your job is to make your team individually and collectively successful. Your own performance will be measured, in part, on your teams success and effectiveness.


The more capable your team are at delivering what you need them to do, the further beyond the day to day you can operate to take your business forward. Being proactive and not fire fighting.


If you train and develop some of your employees to be able to do your job, you have then already initiated the succession planning, to make yourself available for the next step up on your own career path.

Your Next Steps to Greater Productivity

Alluxi is here to offer you support, bringing a facts and figures approach to evolve your business and realise your goals.  As a first step towards identifying your current business challenges and evaluating where your future opportunities exist within your business, we invite you to complete the in-depth Alluxi Business Success Scorecard focussing on the 10 key areas of a successful business.

Take 15 minutes to respond to the scorecard and get your results within minutes.  You’ll be invited to book a follow-up 1-2-1 Productivity to Profit Breakthrough Session to find out how you can implement rapid and measurable improvements.

Click here to take the Alluxi Business Success Scorecard now


Planning For National Living Wage