Delegation skills.... The key skill all great leaders need to develop. In one of our recent posts, we covered the topical subject of overwhelm at work. Realistically, this can happen to any of us especially in an age of information overload. 

Its causes are many and varied, and one of the most common reasons of overwhelm is a lack of delegation to other members of your team. 

Though you may like to think of yourself as a super hero in your organisation who can do everything (you probably could if there were 50 hours in a day) it really is an unrealistic view on how to achieve more. 

Last week I read an article by Sir Richard Branson where he extolled the untold benefits of delegation when it comes to scaling an organisations growth. 

As an experienced recruitment company, we understand this more than most as managers come to us looking for great people that they can delegate to with confidence. 

So, what are the do’s and don’ts when it comes to delegation and where could you start? 

An Important Thing About Delegation 


To ensure we are totally clear on this, delegation is the assignment of any responsibility or authority to another person to carry out specific activities. 

Straightforward? Provided you note that the individual in question is responsible for completing a task. However, the overall accountability for the activity rests firmly with you. 

This is where delegation can fail. 

I am sure we have all heard stories about an individual being blamed for something that wasn’t truly their fault. 

For instance, a task was delegated to someone who either didn’t have the knowledge or the work was given without explanation. Often referred to as; the delegation followed by abdication, syndrome (on the part of the manager or supervisor). 

It’s no wonder that many managers are concerned about delegating to their team when they must be accountable for what ultimately happens. 

However, when delegation happens ‘properly’, individuals, groups and organisations thrive. 

Getting Started 

Obvious and still worth saying: You can’t do everything and it’s important to hire skilled people to your organisation and then develop them to perform well. 

What next? 

Choose the Right Person 

As the leader of your team, you will have an idea of who has what, knowledge, specific skills or personality traits that will align with the task in question. 

Remember though when someone says they can do something and is keen and enthusiastic, it doesn’t mean you should let them; think accountability here. 

However, if their enthusiasm is combined with a grasp of the task in question you could be onto a winner, provided you pay attention to the following. 

Explain Why You Are Delegating  



In a recent post, we talked about various personality styles and what is important to them. For many employees, it’s vital to know why they are doing a task.  

Once they know why they are doing something specific, they are happy to forge ahead. 

Saying, “ because I said so” or, “because we always do it this way”, might have worked in the past and not now with our changing workforce generations. You can read more about that here. 

What You Want as an Outcome


Here is something that is an added bonus, explain the outcome that you want. For instance, let's say you want to update your current CRM system.  

You want to keep data on customer order history and monitor how often the sales people are following up. You also need a new email system that will connect to a new database. 

You delegate this task to Laura who luckily also has the techie gene many of us missed out on! Don’t be surprised if Laura comes back with three or four different options you might never have considered all of which have a CRM system and email provider combined. 

The joy of delegating to the most appropriate person. 

Give Training and Feedback 


Before delegation starts consider if you need to provide training related to the outcome of the task. The individual may have the skills already, maybe not. Therefore make sure he or she is given access to step by step guidance that will help. Though this takes longer initially, remember you are planting for the future. 

Training always needs to be combined with feedback. Keeping in touch, offering support and guidance is fine; don’t let this turn into micromanagement. 

Here is something to bear in mind; we all have different ways of doing things. If Laura does copy and paste one way and you do it another, as long as it doesn’t take three times as long; does it really matter? Be flexible and embrace difference. 

R and R (Recognise and Reward) 

 reward and recognition


 No not rest and recuperation although that will come soon enough hopefully but reward and recognition!

Did you know that a common reason employees leave organisations is because of a lack of recognition and not hearing a particular word….. “thanks!” 

Having placed close to 130,000 people over the last 27 years this is still a common issue we hear here at LWR. 

Recognition can be as easy as; “Laura that is great I really appreciate you doing this for me.” 

The reward doesn’t have to involve the exchange of huge amounts of money either. Being put forward for an employee of the month, or an extra half hour at lunch or the opportunity to work on a project team you are creating, means a lot to your employees. 

Wondering if delegating to a new employee might be a good idea? Then I am sure we can help. We have a highly experienced team of consultants who can help with both permanent and temporary placements. Email us here. Or call Leeds 0113 367 2880 or Manchester 0161 4421. 

About the Author: Lucy Walker

Lucy Walker is the founder and Managing Director at Lucy Walker Recruitment.Lucy has an extensive knowledge of the issues and workings of the West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester Commercial markets developed over 25 years in the profession