The Art of Delegation

I know, it’s difficult to delegate your workload, but you’ll get more done and get impressive results by trusting your workload to skilled colleagues.

  • Do you have more on your to-do list than hours in a day?
  • Do you have more tasks than you can shake a stick at?
  • Do you feel a bit overwhelmed at times?

The obvious answer might be to delegate but, whilst you know you want to delegate, the question you are stumped on is how?

Delegating tasks not only frees up your time but it can also be beneficial for others too. Not only because you are going to be a less stressed vision of yourself as you share out the workload and burden (everyone’s happy then!), but because you are also going to be allowing others to up-skill, learn and expand their knowledge too by delegating tasks to them. 

In the the his article, Delegation Is an Art (and Here Are 9 Simple Ways to Do It Better), leadership guru Peter Economy explains how by delegating just 10 percent of your workload, you can grow your business more than 20 percent!

This is a good one to remember whenever you have those moments of “it would just be easier to do it myself”. Remember that you might be impacting someone’s growth by not sharing your knowledge and know how! Delegation can be as much as a favour for them as one for you!

So effective delegating is not just about a ‘bump and dump’ (i.e. “what can I bump of my to-do list and dump on to someone else”), but it is an opportunity for people to step into their “Zone of Genius” and concentrate their efforts to become more focused. As Gay Hendricks shares in his book, The Big Leap, we all have different zones of ability, and it is important to focus on your ‘Zone of Genius’. By doing so, you are operating in the space you love and excel at. Hendricks says, each time you say an Enlightened No to something that does not serve your genius, you build a stronger foundation for yourself in the zone.” I believe delegating the right things can not only serve our time management and task management but also help us hone our skill set and ‘Zone of Genius’.

An important thing to also remember when it comes to delegating, is that it isn’t just about the now. It is about knowing what and how to delegate for a future reward too. For example, sure, it might easier (and quicker) for you to do the task yourself right now than delegating to the newbie at work. You have the experience and know how, so you’re more efficient in executing the tasks plus showing someone else how to do it will take time in training or showing them the ropes. But you need to think longer term than that – showing them now once means they can keep doing it in the future. This is especially important for those repeated and regular tasks.

The lack of knowing ‘how’ to effectively delegate tasks could be holding you back from a world of increased productivity. You don’t have to burden all the load you know, so let’s get you into the art of delegating. Whether you’re building your business, running a team at work, or managing a busy household then these tips are going to work for you.



Tip One : Get Your Mindset Right


Tip Two: Track The Task Yourself First And Allocate Time


Tip Three: Have Clear Lines of Communication

Tip One : Get Your Mindset Right

Tip Two: Track The Task Yourself First And Allocate Time

Tip Three: Have Clear Lines of Communication


Tip Four: Think About the Type of Task


Tip Five: Set Expectations


Tip Four: Think About the Type of Task


Tip Five: Set Expectations

Alice Dartnell Life Success Coach Consultation Productivity Student Delegation Gay Hendricks Communication Study
Delegation helps everyone grow. You, the person you are delegating to and your business.
Tip One: Mindset Shift

Before diving into the nitty gritty of actually delegating, we need to get that mindset right first. Often the barriers to delegating are a mindset issue. When thoughts like “it will be easier to do it myself”, or “I don’t think the team will do it as good as me” start to creep in, see this as a shift in mindset needed rather than a real barrier to delegating. This is as simple as flipping the narrative.

For example:

  • The thought, “It will be easier to do it myself”, needs to become “once I empower John to do this, he can continue to do it and take charge of it indefinitely. It can become a part of his role.”
  • Thinking “I don’t think the team will do it as good as me” needs to be transformed into, “the team might have a better way to do it!”

Remember – Delegation helps everyone grow. You, the person you are delegating to, your business to the next level.

Siobhan Mears, Online Business Manager & Virtual Assistant Agency Owner, The Mears Collective says, I challenge clients on this, is it a lack of trust? Could it be more than that, a desire to control the outcome and an inability to let go? But this resistance is coming from a place of lack ultimately, as it is not possible to work in flow if you are holding on to all of the tasks yourself. Firstly, you are doing a disservice to yourself and your ability to grow your business. It is not possible to step into your power as the CEO of your business under the weight of a thousand tasks, holding tightly for fear of failure. I urge clients to let go and trust the process. Trust their team.”

“It is hard to delegate something you don’t have full awareness of!”

– Alice Dartnell


Tip Two: Track The Task Yourself First And Allocate Time 

It is hard to delegate something you don’t have full awareness of. The best way to delegate is to track the tasks yourself so you are clear about the details. For example, how long it should take, the potential pitfalls and niggles, the best order to do things, the outcomes you are looking for etc. 

It is also worth allocating a time amount to the task too. This gives a clear guideline of how long to spend on the task. For example, is it a rough 10-minute outline you need or an in-depth project plan that will take hours?. This is particularly important if you are delegating the task to someone for the first time because it is likely that they’ll be nervous and want to get it right and could end up spending far too long on it.

There are also a whole host of amazing tools you can use nowadays too. As Siobhan Mears, Online Business Manager & Virtual Assistant Agency Owner, The Mears Collective explains, “We encourage our clients and team to use Project Management tools for task assignation (such as Asana, ClickUp or Trello), to delegate tasks effectively. You can clearly select a deadline and assign the task to your team in the tool, also upload any videos or notes and track the progress of the task with your team member thereafter.” 

Tip Three: Have Clear Lines of Communication 

One of the biggest pitfalls to delegating effectively is not being clear in your communication. To be fair this is a downfall of many situations from delegating to relationships, from leadership to effective sales.

Go back to the basic “who, what, why, when, where, and how” to support your communications. Also, think about how you are going to communicate and what platform or channel would be best. If it is to one person who is visual, then maybe a short two-minute video might be the best channel rather than a long-winded email (which let’s be honest will take you longer too and email is not the best form of communication). If it is needed to be shared to many people, then perhaps a larger briefing meeting where people take their own notes might be better.

Also, it is worth thinking about what you want the outcome to be and communicate that as much as the actual method. This is important because we can often fixate on the method, giving the person you are delegating to no understanding to what the task contributes too. And you never know, they might even come up with a better method!

Siobhan Mears, of The Mears Collective advises, “I recommend having weekly catch-up calls with your team, for progress updates. But also to provide your team with a clear understanding of the business vision, the goals as they change and any relevant news in the business which may impact the work that they are delivering. It provides a safe space to ask questions while fostering clarity and encouraging a sense of unity as a team, all focused on the ultimate goal.”

Tip Four: Think About The Type of Task

When delegating, think about the type of task. Are you needing support for a one-off ad-hoc task or situation (e.g covering a tasks for a few months whilst Sue is on Mat Leave), contributing to the rush before the season sales, or just support for one-off tasks because you are short-staffed this week? This might influence who you delegate to, what you delegate and how you delegate, so it is wise to think about the situation before dishing the task out. We sometimes neglect the ad-hoc delegation more so than the tasks that become part of someone’s ‘role’ formally or informally.

If you are a busy business owner, it is also possible to delegate and reduce your workload by hiring a freelance Virtual assistant. I believe any business owner should have admin support, whether from a freelance VA or an employee. After all, your time and expertise is best spent on non-admin activities that develop and expand the business. My VA is invaluable!

“Anticipating the peaks and troughs of your business by reviewing previous years and taking into account your team’s planned leave, will allow you to plan effectively ensuring that you have adequate support in your business. There is a misconception that you can only outsource additional support on an ongoing basis, our ad hoc Virtual Assistant support is an extremely popular solution for our clients”, says Siobhan Mears, of The Mears Collective.

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By delegating just 10 percent of your workload, you can grow your business more than 20 percent!
Tip five: Set the Expectations 

This is an extension of making sure you clearly communicate the task and what you expect the outcome of the task to be. It is also about explaining why the task is important or how it contributes to the bigger picture.

In the broadest sense, expectations are simply the things that you anticipate to happen. When we talk about expectations for a delegated task, we need to think about what the expectations are for the final results, timeline, and other important details.

Disappointment often stems from the gap between our expectations and the end result. The key therefore is to work out what your expectations are and share that. 

For example, how long should it take? What is the minimum or maximum requirement? What is the budget?  How much free reign and initiative can they take with the delegated task? Is there a template or guidelines to follow? What is the deadline? What is the priority order of tasks?

Do You Need to Develop Your Delegation Skills?

Do You Need to Develop Your Delegation Skills?

Delegating and assigning work you are responsible for can be difficult. However, by delegating just 10 percent of your workload, you can grow your business more than 20 percent!

As a life coach, I can support you, your organisation, or team with a number of topics including delegation, time management and productivity

Other topics I specialise in include:

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Further Reading

Poor health habits are one of the ‘Four Thieves’ that can hold you up and seriously impacts upon your time management & productivity. Make sure that you include your health in your Circle of Influence. Read my blog Why Looking After Your Health Improves Your Productivity, to find out why and what steps you can take to increase your focus, concentration and productivity.

Failure is actually beneficial and an essential part of self-development. Albert Einstein once said, “Failure is success in progress”. Read  my article 5 Tips How to Bounce Back From Failure ASAP, to understand how to bounce back when you think that you have failed.

Self-Sabotaging. Are you a secret self-sabotager? Me too! Read my blog article 3 tips on how to stop self-sabotaging for my essential hard-learned top tips for how to stop self-sabotaging today.

Habits are what gets you success and my blog 4 Insanely easy ways to create good habits explains four insanely easy ways to start creating good habits.

Work towards you goals in easy bit by bit using the compound-effect of the Law of the Slight Edge. In a nutshell, the Slight Edge is the law that everything adds up bit by bit. The actions we take will move us either towards our goals or away from them.  Learn more about the Law of the Slight Edge in my ground-breaking article Using the Slight Edge to Achieve Your Goals.

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This article is written by Alice Dartnell, life and success coach of Alice Dartnell Limited. Alice empowers busy professionals to be successful, transform their lives and achieve more by improving their confidence, mindset and time management.

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