Delegate Like A Leader: Which Tasks To Delegate, Which To Keep, And Who To Give Them To

The first rule of management is delegation. Don’t try and do everything yourself because you can’t.


Ever felt overwhelmed by your to-do list, unsure of what to pass on to your team and what to keep close to your chest? You’re not alone.

Effective delegation is a balancing act. It’s about understanding your role, recognizing the strengths of your team members, and making decisions that lead to operational efficiency and growth. Leaders often grapple with the dilemma of delegating, not just because of trust issues, but also due to uncertainties about the task’s nature and who is best suited for it.

Yet, mastering this skill is pivotal for any leader aiming for success in today’s fast-paced world.

In this article, you will learn the art of delegation from a leader’s perspective. Discover which tasks you should delegate, which ones require your personal touch, and how to identify the right person for each job. By the end, you’ll be equipped to make informed decisions that bolster productivity while fostering trust and growth within your team.

How To Identify The Right Tasks To Delegate

Delegation isn’t just about offloading tasks; it’s a strategic move designed to optimize productivity, develop team skills, and ensure that leaders can focus on what’s most important. To efficiently delegate, it’s crucial first to identify which tasks should be assigned and to whom.

1. List All Tasks And Responsibilities

Begin by taking inventory of every task and responsibility under your purview. This exhaustive list will serve as the foundation upon which your delegation strategy is built. It’s a straightforward step, but one that requires introspection and thoroughness.

2. Prioritize Tasks Based On Importance And Urgency

Once you have your list, classify each task based on its importance and urgency. Some tasks are both urgent and important, while others may be important but not urgent, and vice versa. This will help you recognize tasks that require immediate delegation and those that can wait or might be more strategic to handle personally.

3. Identify Tasks That Can Be Delegated Without Compromising Quality or Control

Not every task is suitable for delegation. Some tasks are inherently tied to your specific expertise or position and delegating them could compromise the outcome. However, there will be numerous tasks that, when delegated, can achieve the same, if not better, results. These are the tasks you want to pinpoint.

4. Have A Clear Process For Completion, With Set Deadlines

For successful delegation, it’s vital that you provide a clear roadmap for completion. This includes creating a step-by-step process, ensuring there are proper resources available, and setting clear and realistic deadlines. The aim is to ensure the person taking over the task has every tool they need to succeed.

5. Offer Opportunities For Team Member Development

Delegation isn’t just about getting tasks done; it’s an opportunity to foster skill development within your team. When deciding which tasks to delegate, consider how they can serve as learning opportunities for your team members. This not only helps in task completion but also aids in building a more competent and confident team.

How To Recognize Tasks That Should Not Be Delegated

While the power of delegation can greatly amplify a team’s efficiency, there are certain responsibilities that should remain closely held by those at the helm. These tasks, by virtue of their sensitive nature or the high stakes involved, are best handled by those with the experience, authority, and depth of understanding to manage them judiciously. Let’s delve into these non-delegable tasks.

1. High-Stakes Decision-Making

There are decisions that can dramatically influence the trajectory of a business or project. Whether it’s deciding on mergers, acquisitions, or strategic shifts, these choices often involve multiple variables and potential outcomes. Such decisions demand the insights, experience, and accountability of those in leadership positions. Delegating these can not only jeopardize the decision’s quality but also blur responsibility lines.

2. Confidential Or Sensitive Information Handling

The handling of confidential or sensitive information is a delicate task. This could range from financial data, client information, to proprietary business strategies. Given the potential risks associated with breaches or mismanagement, it’s crucial that such tasks remain with trusted senior personnel. They’re not just about skill but also about integrity, trustworthiness, and understanding the broader implications of that information.

3. Performance Evaluations And Disciplinary Actions

Performance evaluations, feedback sessions, and disciplinary actions are deeply personal and can significantly influence team morale and dynamics. These tasks require a nuanced understanding of team members, company culture, and the broader goals of the organization. Delegating these tasks can lead to misunderstandings, potential biases, or even unintended consequences for team dynamics. As such, they should be handled by those who are trained and hold the authority to make impactful personnel decisions.

4. Setting The Company’s Vision And Core Values

The vision and core values of a company define its direction and principles. These elements are deeply personal and are often a reflection of the founder’s or leader’s beliefs, aspirations, and understanding of the market. While discussions and feedback from team members can be valuable, the ultimate responsibility of setting and adjusting this guiding star should remain with top leadership. It’s these values and vision that inspire and guide every subsequent decision within the organization.

5. Building And Maintaining High-Value Relationships

While networking and relationship-building are spread across various levels of an organization, certain high-value relationships, especially with major stakeholders, partners, or key clients, should be nurtured by the top leadership. The rapport, trust, and understanding built in these relationships can significantly influence business decisions and collaborations. Delegating these might result in missed opportunities or, in some cases, misunderstandings due to a lack of decision-making authority or the nuanced understanding that comes with leadership experience.

How To Select The Appropriate Team Members For Delegation

Before you can delegate anything to anyone, you’ll need a team. Whether you are a business owner looking for staff or a busy professional in need of a dedicated virtual assistant, selecting individuals who align with your needs is crucial. Take the time to vet several candidates and do proper background checks.

Beyond that, it’s important to measure prospects on their character and whether or not they’ll work well with you. It’s a good idea to consult talent recruitment agencies or research different assistant providers, as they know the ins and outs of what it takes to hire the right person

1. Analyze Your Team Members’ Strengths And Weaknesses

One of the reasons you’ve hired multiple employees is because everyone has a unique skillset. Through a combination of hard and soft skills, professionals can all bring something slightly different to the table. Take the time to evaluate who you are working with and get to know each person personally.

To get a well rounded understanding of what to expect from each team member, walk yourself through the below list of starting points:

  1. Assess individual skills, experience, and expertise
  2. Understand each team member’s preferred working style
  3. Consider their past performance and reliability

2. Match Tasks With The Right Skill Sets

Each and every one of your team members is surely skilled. But how do you know which person is the best match for a delegated task?

Here’s how to match a team member’s skill set with an aligned delegated task:

  1. Identifying the required skills for each task
  2. Evaluating team members’ abilities and expertise
  3. Assigning tasks based on the best fit for success

3. Consider Workload Distribution And Balance

Balance is the key to life and should be handled with intention. Evaluate what it is that you need help with. Is it a one person job? Will it require a team of five individuals? Measuring the tasks at hand and amount of time you’d like poured into each one is how you’ll establish a fair workload distribution. As a manager or leader, you should always promote fairness and prevent burnout, as you wouldn’t want your employees to suffer — especially on your account.

Here’s how to manage balance:

  1. Monitor workload distribution among team members
  2. Ensure delegated tasks are evenly distributed
  3. Reassign tasks as necessary to maintain balance

Start Delegating Successfully Today!

The art of delegation is twofold: discerning which tasks to hand over and pinpointing those that need a leader’s touch. By comprehending this distinction, you can foster an environment of trust, growth, and efficiency.

The true essence of delegation lies in recognizing the strengths and capacities of team members, ensuring that tasks align with their expertise. But as with any art, the beauty of delegation is in the balance – between empowering your team and upholding the core responsibilities that define leadership.

As you venture forward, let this be your guide. Equip yourself with the insights shared, allowing them to shape your delegation strategy. By doing so, not only will you optimize operational efficiency, but you’ll also cultivate a culture where team members feel valued and empowered. Remember, a leader’s true strength isn’t just in leading but in elevating those they lead.

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