Understanding delegation in leadership

With a delegating leadership style, a leader gives someone the freedom to exercise autonomy through a low task and relational conduct. This strategy involves giving the person the big picture and then having faith in them to produce the desired results. A confident, capable performer is best suited for a leadership style that delegates responsibility. Even a moderate amount of input from the leader in this situation (such as making suggestions) might be unsettling and taken as a sign of mistrust. Their motivation and ability to perform the activity at hand may both deteriorate as a result of this.

Leadership is a topic that is frequently discussed in business circles. Discussions about what leadership is, who has a natural talent for it, and its importance are never-ending. Not only that. People also enjoy debating which abilities and traits make a good leader. Look no further than the website where you are reading this post for proof. Motivation is mentioned as a crucial leadership trait by some writers. Others claim that the secret is humility. More yet mention traits like humor and self-assurance. And I have no desire to argue those ideas with anyone.

Understanding delegation in leadership

I’d want to approach the subject from a different perspective. I view leadership from the viewpoint of someone who collaborates with business owners from all backgrounds. And I wouldn’t have to think twice if you asked me what I believed to be the most crucial skill a successful leader should possess: the ability to delegate effectively. Although delegation is crucial in leadership, many business owners find it difficult to do. Since many of them began their businesses by taking on several roles and being involved in every aspect of it, it can be difficult to break that habit.

Well, in this article, you’ll have an understanding of delegation in leadership as the answers to the following questions will be discussed:

  • What is delegation?
  • Why is delegation important in leadership?
  • What are the benefits of delegation?
  • Why do most managers fail to delegate?
  • How to know when to delegate?
  • How do delegate tasks effectively?

let’s dive in!

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What is delegation?

Delegation is the act of giving duties and responsibilities to those under your control. It is how a hierarchical organizational structure accomplishes tasks in a business setting, and managers at all levels engage in it (or at least should be doing). Delegation does not, however, always come effortlessly to business owners. Maintaining control over the daily details of their business operations is crucial for some. While that method of working has its place, particularly in the early stages of a startup, it disintegrates quite quickly as the size of the company increases.

Delegating may seem simple, and those who are good at it often make it look that way, but successful delegation calls on a lot of trust, communication, and cooperation. However, if you master delegation and execute it well, your team as a whole benefit.

Why is delegation important in leadership?

If you give it some thought, the entire idea of leadership offers the justification for why delegating is so important. Forbes magazine reports: Leadership is a social influence method that maximizes people’s efforts toward the accomplishment of a goal. Delegation is not simply important to leadership—you might even argue that it is leadership if you accept the concept of leadership as inspiring people to put their best efforts in service of a single objective.

This is why.

Playing to each team member’s unique abilities will help you to make the most of your skills and guide the group toward the achievement of the team’s objective. That entails assigning them projects that are appropriate for their skills and stepping aside to allow them to do the assignments you’ve given them.

If you actively participate in every step of the process, you are no longer leading but rather doing. Additionally, if you do that, you only have a small group of assistants rather than a team. Last but not least, people are unlikely to trust you if you won’t let them take responsibility for the duties you provide them. Anyone who has held management roles will attest that leading people toward a goal when they don’t trust you is extremely difficult. They won’t get anything done; they’ll spend more time critiquing your ideas and the work of other team members.

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Why do most managers fail to delegate?

Even though there are numerous clear advantages to delegation, many managers still struggle to do so. The truth is that some leaders may be reluctant to delegate tasks to others due to several myths and misconceptions about delegation. The followings are some reasons why managers or leaders fail to delegate tasks:

  • They believe delegation merely entails assigning work to another person.
  • They believe they can do it more effectively.
  • They are frightened of letting go.
  • They are concerned that delegation will need more time than simply handling the work

Let me explain better!

They believe delegation merely entails assigning work to another person.

Founder of MackayMitchell Envelope Co. Harvey Mackay writes that managers frequently confuse delegating with assigning duties. “So they choose not to do it, squandering not just their own time but also that of the organization and its resources.” Delegation can be a chance to reduce workloads, but more importantly, Mackay says, it can give your workers extremely good teaching chances. Delegation is a sign of a strong leader, not of weakness.

They believe they can do it more effectively.

According to one study, two psychological factors make people less willing to assign tasks to others:

The self-enhancement effect is the propensity for managers to give a work product a higher rating the more personally invested they are in its creation.
The belief that work done under a supervisor’s oversight is superior to work done without as much supervision, is also known as the faith in supervision effect. Keep an eye out for these biases in your work. They can indicate that you need to concentrate on fostering greater trust among your team members.

They are frightened of letting go.

Although realizing that you can’t handle everything yourself is crucial, letting go can be difficult. Even in the best situations, Carol Walker, owner of the consulting company Prepared to Lead, which specializes in grooming future leaders, says it takes a lot of confidence and perspective to give up being “the go-to expert.”

Remind yourself that your team shares your desire to succeed and do quality work. You succeed if your employees do well. According to Mackay, “I’ve learned that people will rarely let you down if they know that your fate is in their hands—and vice versa.

They are concerned that delegation will need more time than simply handling the work

The fact that training someone else to perform a task can take longer than simply performing it yourself is another major obstacle to delegation. And while that may be true the first time you assign the task, eventually you won’t need to be associated with it at all, which reduces the amount of time you need to devote to it.

Imagine if guiding someone through a task you must perform each week will take you eight hours. You usually need an hour to do the task. You will have recovered the time you spent on training once eight weeks have gone after training someone else to perform the task for you, and you will now have an extra hour each week. You can use that extra hour to concentrate on more crucial tasks like strategy, coaching, or development—tasks that leaders are expected to perform.

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How to know when to delegate?

The fact that leaders are unsure of which duties they should and shouldn’t be delegating is another major obstacle to delegation. There are probably duties that you should handle yourself and tasks that you should delegate in every manager’s job, especially for novice managers. Jenny Blake, a career and business consultant, suggests doing an audit of your tasks following the guidelines below to determine which of them should be assigned to someone else:

  • Tiny
  • Tedious
  • Time-consuming
  • Teachable
  • Terrible at
  • Time-sensitive



Tiny jobs are small tasks that can be finished quickly but accumulate over time. An assistant may arrange meetings, reserve flights for professional travel, or clear your inbox of spam and marketing communications.


Mindless tasks, like uploading lead information from your marketing automation program to your CRM, are considered tedious tasks. Tedious chores are simple to delegate and don’t require much talent.


Time-consuming jobs offer the chance to divide the work into smaller segments and assign parts of the work to others. If you frequently complete time-consuming work, look for chances to delegate parts of it to others.


Do you have any tasks that you could teach someone else to accomplish without much difficulty? A task is a good candidate for delegation if it is teachable and does not require knowledge that you alone possess.

Terrible at

You may lack design abilities and it takes you six times as long as a professional designer to make the visuals for your blog entries. It’s preferable to assign that duty to someone who has the necessary skills to complete it efficiently.


Perhaps it would be best if you handled every duty associated with a time-sensitive project, but if you won’t have enough time to do it that way, it’s time to find ways to assign some of that task to other team members.

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What are the benefits of delegation?

Now that you are aware of the significance of delegation, you should also be aware of the advantages it offers both leaders and the teams they are in charge of. Let’s examine some of the advantages that leaders and their teams can experience from effective delegation.

  • More Time to Think Strategically
  • Building Stronger Teams
  • Creating Organizational Leaders
  • Increased Job Satisfaction
  • Better Organizational Accountability


More Time to Think Strategically

One of the main advantages of delegation for leaders is that it frees up more time for crucial but non-project-related duties. In other words, they become less preoccupied with the tasks that need to be completed before their team can go on, giving them more time to plan, assess, and develop future team strategies. Strategic thinking is what management theorists refer to as it, and it is crucial for long-term business success.

You are not required to believe me. Strategic thinking was regarded as the leadership behavior most closely associated with organizational success in a Harvard Corporate Review research that polled 10,000 senior business leaders. However, a startling 96% of CEOs surveyed for a different study said they had little time for strategic thinking.

Building Stronger Teams

As I mentioned before, another advantage of a leader assigning their subordinates duties and responsibilities is that it fosters trust. Giving someone an important task and letting them complete it without your intervention shows that you trust them more than anything. Experts in leadership assert that building people’s confidence in your leadership depends on trust. Additionally, trust is mutual; when a leader shows faith in their team, those individuals will have faith in him or her as well.

But on top of that, giving your team tasks to do also encourages them to grow as individuals and team members. Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes. And what better way for your squad to hone their abilities than by putting them to use?

Creating Organizational Leaders

Delegation helps produce new leaders, which is advantageous to organizations and, indirectly, to leaders themselves. This is because delegation involves more than merely giving work. You can exercise leadership delegation as well. As the name implies, leadership delegation is the process of appointing a team member to oversee a sub-group that is pursuing a certain objective. In other words, you’re putting them in a position of leadership and requesting that they take it. You are allowing them to grow as leaders by doing this and empowering them.

Business experts believe that developing leaders at all levels of an organization is crucial, and it is simple to see why. It’s because a growing body of data indicates that locally produced CEOs provide better business outcomes in all types of firms. When women are given leadership roles, businesses might experience these positive results. According to a study, having 30% women in C-suite roles increases net profit margins by 6%.

Increased Job Satisfaction

The individuals you’re leading will also benefit from your delegation. That’s because it enhances the level of job satisfaction among people who work for you. An analysis of four different research found that workers were more content in their jobs when their bosses effectively assigned tasks. There is every reason to think that the basic rationale applies everywhere, even though the studies largely focused on the medical profession.

The greater sense of autonomy that the delegation afforded the team members is what all the studies acknowledged as the cause of the increased job satisfaction. There is a ton of evidence that points to autonomy as one of the major factors in job happiness. A 20,000-person UK survey showed a direct causal relationship between job happiness and autonomy. The conclusion is as follows: happy employees are those who have more autonomy.

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Better Organizational Accountability

Finally, delegation is a tool that leaders can use to increase corporate accountability. In reality, it’s their only option. This is because you cannot hold individuals accountable for work until you delegate task control to others. To accomplish this, you must establish precise guidelines and provide the person to whom you assign true autonomy. When not requested for their aid or advice, leaders who prefer to remain hands-on cannot properly hold a subordinate accountable for a result. This is because simply meddling shows a lack of trust and shifts responsibility away from the person you have delegated to.

You are effectively informing them that you are in command and therefore ultimately responsible for the outcome. By doing that, you’re cultivating a culture of blame-shifting throughout your entire company. On the other hand, if you make it crystal obvious to your team that delegation equals control and that responsibility equals control, they will get the message and have realistic expectations. Then, all you have to do is provide them with the necessary tools for success. That’s what they’ll do more frequently than not.

How do delegate tasks effectively?

Here are some tips to assist you with delegation so that your team can divide the effort and create progress that is beneficial to everyone.

  • Choose the right person for the position
  • Explain your decision to delegate.
  • Give appropriate instructions
  • provide resources and instruction
  • Delegate responsibility and authority
  • Inspect the work and provide feedback.
  • Learn to say thank you


Choose the right person for the position

Understanding the strengths, weaknesses, and preferences of your team members is a key component of being an effective leader. Don’t provide a task that needs a lot of cooperation to someone who strongly enjoys working alone if the assignment needs to be delegated. Give it to someone who enjoys working with others.

You might have a list of jobs you want to assign if you carried out the audit suggested in the section above. You might want to think about getting down with your team, going through the list, and allowing people to choose which responsibilities they’d like to take on themselves. Another strategy to develop trust and encourage participation among your team is to let employees choose the tasks that are given to them.

Explain your decision to delegate

When you give someone a task out of the blue, it truly helps if you explain the situation that led to your decision. According to Alex Cavoulacos, the creator of The Muse, “when you choose people to delegate to, explain to them why you especially chose them and how you hope to see this help them improve.” “Assist them in viewing each task that is given to them as an opportunity to assume additional responsibility or develop new talents.”

Give appropriate instructions

Without micromanaging, a skilled delegator gives fundamental and significant information. In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People author Stephen Covey advises that you outsource results rather than methods: Say something like, ‘Here is what we are doing. What we’re after is this. Instead of saying, “Follow up on those leads,” Covey adds, “I want you to get the sale.”

Inform staff members of your objectives or the milestones you hope to reach, then let them approach the issue in their way. Never strive for perfection or micromanage others since they might carry out work in a different way than you. It doesn’t matter as long as you find what you’re looking for.

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Provide resources and instruction

You must ensure that the person assigned a task or project has the materials and tools necessary for success. I do, we do, you do (see me do this, then let’s do it together, now you try) is an excellent training motto, according to Cavoulacos.

Make sure the individual to whom you assign a task has the resources and expertise necessary to perform it or offer a means for them to develop those competencies. Make sure there is a plan for someone to become familiar with the tool first, for instance, if you ask someone to utilize a certain tool they have never used before to complete a task.

Delegate responsibility and authority

You’ve probably encountered situations where you were given a task but didn’t feel completely in charge of the situation. As a result, the process takes longer for both the manager and the employee, the work slows, and you end up needing assistance.

Martin Zwilling, founder, and CEO of Startup Professionals believes that managers who fail to assign responsibilities in addition to specific duties eventually find themselves reporting to their subordinates and performing some of the work, rather than the other way around. Encourage a climate and culture where employees feel empowered to make choices, ask questions, and take the necessary actions to finish the job.

Inspect the work and provide feedback

Nothing is worse than a manager giving an employee a task and then blaming them when anything goes wrong. Be that manager, not you. When the work you assigned to your team members is finished, review it to ensure they handled it appropriately and provide any feedback necessary to help them handle the assignment more effectively in the future.

Learn to say thank you

When someone completes the work or project you assigned to them, express your sincere gratitude and highlight any particular accomplishments. Making a note of those details provides people with a guide for what they should do moving forward to succeed. The easiest step is also one of the hardest for many people to learn, according to Zwilling. It will promote loyalty, offer genuine fulfillment for a completed job, and serve as the foundation for performance evaluations.


You can’t—and shouldn’t—do everything yourself as a leader, therefore delegation is crucial. Your staff will be more empowered by delegation, and it will also encourage trust and professional growth. Additionally, it teaches leaders how to choose those who are most qualified to take on particular jobs or projects.

Shifting responsibility for particular tasks from one person to another is referred to as delegation. From a managerial standpoint, delegation happens when a manager gives their staff members particular tasks to do.

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Successful delegators know when to encourage, coach, assist, take a step back, modify expectations, be accessible, and recognize accomplishments. Instead of viewing risks and errors as evidence that they shouldn’t have been delegated in the first place, they accept them and learn from them.

A tool and a skill that may be utilized to gain more control over a team and enhance the members’ professional development is delegation. Overall, it enables more growth. Like any other skill, the capacity to delegate tasks may be taught and developed over time.

Benefits of Delegating
  • Gives you the time and ability to focus on higher-level tasks.
  • Gives others the ability to learn and develop new skills.
  • Develops trust between workers and improves communication.
  • Improves efficiency, productivity, and time management.

When managers or supervisors delegate, they allow subordinates to decide how to fulfill a task while giving them the responsibility and authority to do so. People that are effective at delegating grow into more contented and productive individuals.

Here are some instances of delegation in the workplace with various levels of autonomy and trust: giving instructions and specific instructions to a subordinate. appointing a person to gather information, seek ideas, and then report back to you so that you can make informed decisions.

What is the purpose of delegating ultimately? Improving client care outcomes is the delegation’s ultimate purpose. Although delegation makes it easier to provide client care as a team and enhances the nurse’s productivity, these are not its primary objectives.

The five rights of delegation serve as a framework for the effective transfer of accountability for carrying out a job or activity to another person. The correct task, the right situation, the right person, the right direction/communication, and proper supervision/evaluation are considered to be these “rights.”

Additionally, delegation can be a means of boosting self-assurance. A person is an individual you can trust with the results when you give them a work obligation. These people value that trust and find inspiration in their manager’s confidence in them to complete a significant task.

These targets will be described as “SMART” goals. They shall be Timely, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, and Realistic. This implies that each objective will be described in a manner that allows anyone to comprehend precisely what is required.

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Difficulties Faced by Delegation of Authority:
Confidence of Superior
Lack of Confidence in Subordinate
Lack of Ability in Superior
Lack of Proper Controls
Inability of Subordinates
Relieving Top Executives
Improved Functioning
Use of Specialists