Best practice of the week: Delegation

Definition of delegation: “Entrusting a goal, project or tasks to someone else.”

Remote work had grown by 44% in the five years before the pandemic.  Although all the practices of effective collaboration still apply, a premium is now put on clear and concise communications of goals and constraints—and meaningful and consistent encouragement.  Your value as a manager is directly proportional to your ability to delegate.

Practice Summary

Keys to effective collaboration

  • Develop relationships
  • Specify tasks and their completion criteria
  • Assign the right task to the right person, including alignment with their own goals
  • Explain the task explicitly
  • Set milestones and deadlines
  • Use collaboration technology
  • Have update meetings
  • Be available as a mentor


  • Granting freedom vs. staying involved
  • Immediate training and supervision time vs. long-term time savings from ability to delegate
  • Need for execution vs. providing a growth opportunity

Common misconceptions that prevent delegation

  • Nobody else can handle the task – because they haven’t been given the chance; chicken-and-egg
  • Training takes too long – think of the long-run tradeoff
  • Don’t like their approach – you may learn something
  • Failure would be attributed to me – then team hasn’t been properly trained

Key Metrics

  • Time used for training
  • Time supervising delegation
  • Time team spends performing task

3 Good Questions (discuss in a management meeting)

  1. Why haven’t I delegated this task before?
  2. Why haven’t I delegated to this person before?
  3. What could go wrong and what could go right

Delegation can be a powerful motivating factor. By entrusting an employee with a responsibility, their job will be more aligned with the organization’s mission and should instill a degree of passion, also preventing disenchantment and burnout.