Delegating for Success

Do you delegate well?

Or do you instead decide, “I will just do it myself.”

Many of you probably think, “I have no one to delegate to!”

Over the past few years I have delegated MASSIVE amounts of work  -  even work that is typically MINE to do. I have found that delegation gets me better results than if I am just doing the work myself. But —- I had to learn to delegate.

My delegation method

Here are some steps you can use to decide if a task needs delegating:

1) Does it matter? So often work produces more work. We get caught up in activities and we never question if these tasks are even valuable anymore. When tasks start to overwhelm you, the first question is not about delegation – but instead about elimination. If a task can be eliminated – do that instead. So much of what binds us is busy work that does not add to the bottom line.

2) Have the right people. If you have the wrong people on your team – your job is going to be harder. The whole reason to have a team is to reach better results faster. If you do not have the right skills in your current people – get new people! Wait – did you say you did not even HAVE a team? We all think that “team” means we have to have employees- but I beg to differ. People on your team might be employees but they could also be co-workers, your boss (yes you can delegate up), and even vendors or contractors. In case you need inspiration about delegation at all levels of the company – see Tim Ferriss’s book The 4-Hour Workweek.

3) Clearly define the outcomes. What do you want the results of the project to look like? Even if you are delegating to your boss – be clear about what is desired. The key to delegating to non-employees is making sure you have a win-win objective. And remember – MOST projects do not have clearly defined outcomes. Even those large corporate million dollar projects often lack defined outcomes. Yes – MOST PROJECTS. Think about the one you are working on now…. do you know what the desired outcome is?

4) Decide on the WHO should do the task. This is not as tricky as it might sound – and in my case it is usually obvious.

5) Teach and train where needed. If you need a task done a certain way and that specific skill set is missing then make the connection. Do not assume things will be done your way unless you have provided the proper resources – and this MIGHT include training. This step is particularly crucial when you are delegating tasks you normally consider routine. Even if you are handing a task off to a professional like CPAs – make sure you and they talk about what you expect.

6) Set time for follow-up. If it matters to you – follow up. If it does not matter – see step 1. Perhaps it is better to delegate the “following-up” step – but until you know you have a trusted team member – the follow up falls on you.

I know we all think about delegation as a management job – but it is ALL our jobs. Most of us are paid for results – and if we can get the results done better and faster – we are more valuable. Remember that the goal is not about working more hours – but about working more resources.

Originally Published on

by Dale Callahan. Connect with Dale here.