Organizational Wellness

10 Tips for Successful Delegation

Aug 21, 2023
Last Updated Aug 21, 2023

Sometimes the most effective way for a manager to work is to not do the work. Instead, the best move a manager can make is to delegate tasks to their team members. 

Delegation can be tricky. The better you are at your job, the more people expect from you. And, especially for high performers, asking others to take care of tasks can feel like slacking off.

But the opposite is true. Delegation is good for you and your team, making it an important part of leadership development. It helps you reduce your risk of burnout and overwork, and gives your staff the chance to develop their professional skills. 

So know that if you struggle with delegation, you’re not alone — but it’s a skill worth developing. Here are 10 ways you can start delegating in a way that works!

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  1. Understanding Delegation

With any new skill, you have to understand what you’re trying to learn before diving in. Delegation is when you transfer the responsibility of a task from one person to another. In the workplace, this usually looks like a manager transferring the responsibility for something from their plate to one of their expert team members. 

That sounds simple, but it’s powerful. Not only can delegation help you avoid burnout, but it can also help your organization make more: CEOs who delegate well actually make 33% more revenue. It also gives your team members more autonomy, boosting their engagement, while freeing up your time for other important tasks. 

So delegation is a win-win for you and your team: you avoid burnout, and they get more engaging work where they can really put their skills to the test. 

  1. Assessing Tasks for Delegation

When you’ve decided you want to delegate, the next step is to determine what tasks can be passed on. Not every task can be delegated. Hiring interviews, performance reviews, and anything else personal should always remain the responsibility of the manager. That being said, not everything needs to be performed by the manager. Some tasks are suited to delegation—maybe even better suited—and those are great to give to your team to bolster their careers. 

Think about these questions to begin assessing a task for delegation: 

  • Is this task personal or involve information that other team members shouldn’t be privy to? 
  • What are the skillsets my team has? 
  • Would someone on my team be able to do this task? 
  • If so, would doing it help them? 
  • Is there someone who could do the work better than me? 

The best answer, more often than not, is to delegate these tasks. If someone else can do it and can do it well, hand that task off, so you can focus on something you are more uniquely suited to address.

  1. Selecting the Right Person

OK! You’ve identified a task somebody else can handle. Now you need a top-tier team member who can perform a task well. 

To do that, you need to understand the capabilities and skill sets of your team. You need to know who does what and who does something really well. Perhaps you have someone who’s an expert at data processing. Note that down, so when you have a task pop up suited to that skillset, you know to whom you should delegate it. Remember too that some of your team members also have particular interests that could make them well suited to a task. 

At the same time, delegating can be an opportunity for learning. You can provide support and training alongside projects for someone who’s interested in learning how to perform a certain task. You’ll then also have someone prepped and ready to go the next time you need something similar done. 

  1. Establishing Clear Expectations

Once you’ve decided to delegate a specific task, it’s time to get on the same page as the team member who’s taking it over. This conversation is a great opportunity to establish clear expectations for both of you. Here are some tips for this conversation to help you get started: 

  • Clearly define the task to the team member, so they know exactly what’s happening.
  • Outline the specific objectives, if applicable.
  • Communicate when and how you want the team member to check in with you on the project (though try to not to micromanage, as that can be counterproductive).
  • Set realistic deadlines and milestones. Consider setting these together, so your team member can help you determine if they’re realistic for them.

  1. Effective Communication

You do want to avoid micromanaging, but that doesn’t mean you should leave team members in the dark. It’s important to set up a communication plan. Team members should have a way to reach you, to update you on progress, and to ask questions. This helps you avoid hovering over someone’s shoulder waiting for updates. Instead, use your established communication channel to allow you to have a conversation with them when you want an update. The key here is to make sure everybody can have conversations they need to in order to get the work done — without too many meetings that could have been an email. 

  1. Empowering and Trusting Team Members

When you delegate, you’re not just passing on work. Your team members are now responsible for the work, not just doing it. That requires trust on your part and great work on their part. Trust is so important in the workplace, but unfortunately 55% of employees feel that their managers don’t trust them. When employees don’t feel trusted, engagement and productivity can suffer

The good news is that one of the best ways to improve your team’s trust in you is to trust them. So when you delegate a task to them, let them do it and show that you trust them. It’ll help your entire team in the long run. Allow them to take ownership, and provide them with the support and encouragement they need along the way. 

  1. Monitoring Progress

While you’re trusting your team, you can still check in on progress. After all, a lot of tasks are just a part of a bigger project, and deadlines need to be met. So monitoring progress is still an important part of delegating. Here are some tips: 

  • Regularly check in. Have regular conversations and use the established communication channels.
  • Provide guidance when asked or when needed.
  • Track milestones and the completion of each.
  • Ensure task completion when needed.
  • Address any challenges or roadblocks that come up.

Letting your team take over certain tasks is valuable and empowering, but you are still a team, so it’s important to continue supporting them. 

  1. Recognizing and Celebrating Achievements

When something is successfully completed, it’s time to celebrate! Celebrating and recognizing achievements is a powerful way to make sure your team members feel connected to the company as a whole and feel ownership and pride in their work. Unfortunately, 82% of employees don’t feel like their supervisor recognizes their achievements, so taking the time to do so is important. 

How can you recognize and celebrate your team members? Here are some ideas: 

  • Give them a shoutout in a meeting.
  • Have a conversation with them where you thank them for their work and show them how it impacted the team for the better.
  • Give them a special reward when they do something extra special.
  • Celebrate everyone with a special team activity after a successful project.

There are so many ways to recognize your team members. These are only the beginning.

  1. Learning from Delegation Experiences

After you’ve delegated a task or project, it’s a great opportunity to take some time and reflect on the experience. What worked? What went well? How was the level of communication? How did the team member feel about the experience? Consider some of these ideas, so you can ensure that you’re learning from delegation experiences. 

You might come across areas that need improvement. Great! You can use that information to incorporate lessons learned into your next round of delegation. Let’s say you didn’t find email to be a very efficient method of communication, so now you plan on using a messaging and calling service like Slack to check in with your team. It’s all about learning from what you’ve experienced and continuing to improve. 

  1. Providing Ongoing Support

Even when you’re not actively delegating, you’re still the manager, and you’re in a unique position to provide ongoing support that’ll make delegation smoother in the future. Here are some ideas about how you could provide ongoing support: 

  • Provide training opportunities for team members to learn skills they want to be able to take on tasks in the future.
  • Provide resources or even a resource database to help team members complete all their tasks.
  • Offer mentorship opportunities for development and continual learning.
  • Make yourself available for questions and clarifications.

Empower Employees in All Aspects of Life

Overall, delegation is a powerful tool managers should take advantage of to build up their teams and to engage individuals with work that moves their careers forward. Plus it’s a way to boost trust on your team. You’re also more fully utilizing team members’ skill sets in a way that benefits your company—and even helps you boost revenue. So what are you waiting for? 

Utilizing delegation isn’t the only way to support your team. In fact, it’s only the beginning. Your team members need support on a variety of different levels, which is why wellness programs are so important. One hundred percent of HR leaders say wellness programs are important to employee satisfaction. Beyond helping your employees take charge with effective delegating, help them take charge of their health and mental wellbeing with tailored benefits. Let’s get started supporting your team with wellness programs. Talk to a wellbeing specialist today! 





Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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