Monthly Archives: September 2017

10 Signs That You Need to Delegate, and Three Ways to Make It Happen

Few of us were born with a natural ability to delegate, yet it is a key skill needed when working with and through people.  How well do you delegate?  Here is a quick test:

The Top 10 Signs You Need Better Delegation Skills

#10. You are disorganized.

#9. You fix your staff’s mistakes.

#8. The place cannot run without you.

#7. You have unused vacation time.

#6. You work long hours.

#5. Your staff need approval for small things.

#4. Assignments are misunderstood.

#3. Low morale.

#2. High turnover.

#1. You have no time for reflection and strategic thinking.

If you can identify with any of these signs, then you join the majority of leaders who lack the innate ability to delegate well.   Take heart, delegation is a primary skill that you can learn using the

Three Steps to Effectively Delegate:

Step 1:  Build a Frame

Think of your task as building a picture frame made with SMART Goals set WITH your staff. Make goals Specific, Measurable, Agreed upon, Realistic, and Time-bound.

But don’t stop there, delegate full responsibility by setting Empowerment Rules.  Empowerment Rules are “If…Then…” statements that consider common situations and contingencies you discuss when setting SMART Goals so if these situations occur, then your staff know what to do.

And, here is an Empowerment Rule for you, if your staff come back to you with a problem, then take the time to train them or discuss how THEY can solve the situation, never reassume responsibility for a task you have delegated, if you do, then you are training them that you will do their work, and everyone will be frustrated.

Step 2:  Maintain Rapport

Once you have built the frame, establish ongoing communication so you can identify opportunities for training, or renegotiation of goals or rules.  This lets your staff know that you care.  Set a schedule of specific check points together.  And, check in as planned, or risk losing rapport.

Step 3:  Let Them Paint

This may be the hardest part as you will need to let go and get out of the way.  If you have built the frame appropriately, and continue to maintain rapport, then it is up to your staff to “paint the picture.”  Be patient, likely they won’t do it well or quickly their first time.  But, open up to the possibility that, once they learn to do it, they may find new innovative ways to accomplish the task.  If it does not go well, then you can provide coaching and counseling.

Delegation, done well, has many benefits:

  • Delegation develops and motivates your staff.
  • You, as a team, get more done.
  • It creates a succession of professionals who can assume leadership in your absence.
  • It provides you with your most valuable resource…time.
  • The discovery of fresh ideas and new ways of doing things.

Working with and through people is an art, and few of us were born with a natural ability to delegate well.   Taking the time to learn better delegation skills will pay off in numerous ways for you, your staff, and your business.


This article was graciously posted in the July 6th, 2017 San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce e-Newsletter, and now here for you!