Delegation: How & When To Assign Tasks

Delegation isn’t always the most natural response for leaders and managers. As a leader, it can be easy to feel that your best work is accomplished on your own, utilizing your high capacity and drive to bring value to your team. There comes a time, however, when this perspective no longer serves you or the company.

When you can build, through others, the systems and routines that have helped you succeed, it doesn’t add up to holding onto all tasks yourself. Delegation is a crucial part of any effective leader’s skill set, especially since so much work takes place online and managing remote employees is the new norm for many.

In this article, we’ll explore delegation benefits, examples, models, and more. But first, a delegate definition.


Delegate Definition

To provide a definition of “delegate,” we define it as the sharing or passing on of tasks and responsibilities by the leader of a team or a person of authority to their subordinates. It can be done in small ways, with menial tasks that are better accomplished by those with more time and less overall responsibility, and also with larger projects that will take up a greater share of one’s time, energy, or resources. Delegation in management can be big or small, but always requires the transfer of duty from one party to another.

Benefits Of Delegation

There are numerous benefits to delegation. First, delegation is one of the most essential ways to build trust between you and your employees. It shows you believe in their abilities. It also increases accountability with those around you, as they’ll need to take more responsibility to keep things running smoothly.

Besides these, one of the biggest benefits of delegation is freeing up your own time. This leaves room for the most important things and creates more space to add more crucial tasks if necessary. Delegation also gives you the gift of seeing where there might be gaps in your team’s ability to work together, or where one individual may be at a different level of capacity or internal motivation. It could be compared to a thermometer that will let you know the status of more factors than just tasks being accomplished.

Why We Don’t Delegate

Many managers experience a hesitancy to delegate – but why? In many instances, it’s easier to jump in and complete tasks ourselves, even when we know our time could be better spent somewhere else. Often there might be guilt at adding more tasks to a team member’s list or lack of confidence in another’s abilities – along with a perceived shortage of time to train them – or we can sense it will cause a fear of disappointing their superiors. These concerns can all be dealt with and pushed past, however, and you will have to learn to do so if you’re interested in professional growth.

How to Delegate

In the following sections, we’ll dive deeper into how to delegate.

Delegation Process Steps

The delegation process steps will vary based on your team’s culture and expectations, as well as your ability to follow through on the delegations you make. Things will quickly revert back to their previous state if you aren’t able to create a clear plan and stay consistent. Setting stable expectations is a must if you want to keep a happy equilibrium where each person is performing tasks that correlate to their particular skills, experience, and available time.

Delegation Model

The delegation model requires a bit of knowledge of your team’s expectations and work style. If you have a team that needs more instruction and reinforcement, delegating may be a longer process with more input required from you. If they are secure and confident in following through on a request or task, there might not be a large margin between when they are introduced to the model and when it can be effectively implemented. It’s also worth taking a moment to observe each team member independently so you have a better idea of what to expect and where you’ll need to adjust on an individual level as well.

Delegation Examples

Delegation examples vary in how much responsibility you’ll give to each person. The simplest form of delegation is giving thorough instructions and expecting follow-through. At a higher level, you may have them do research on the task at hand and then consult you before they take action, allowing you to offer feedback. If you have built a lot of trust in your relationship and their capabilities, you might give them the flexibility to find a solution to the issue and execute it on their own, simply letting you know their course of action. Of course, there’s a spectrum with many options between these pathways.

Delegation Skills

One of the primary delegation skills is self-awareness, as you must gauge how willing you are to let go of control in the various areas over which you have responsibility. Knowing what level of control you’d like to have is essential in initially deciding which tasks to delegate and being able to effectively communicate expectations to your staff.


A lot of leaders are asking themselves how to delegate in a trusting, low stress way while not sacrificing the quality of work. Knowing how much oversight your team will require, your own comfort level with letting go of control, and the big picture of what you hope to accomplish with delegation are all crucial components as you begin to incorporate it into your workflow.


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Filed Under: Consulting skills, Leadership & Management