Seven Steps to Failsafe Delegation (Going From Doer to Delegator)


By:  Dale Mask

For many new supervisors the biggest challenge is “letting go.” To stop being the “doer-of-the-work” and start delegating work effectively. You were promoted because of the great job you did, but your job has changed. You are no longer the “doer” of the work. You are now the “delegator” of the work.

Now, your job is to get things done through others. But what if they don’t do it right? They may not get it done on time. And now, you are still responsible when they mess up. You are putting your future into their hands. It can get pretty scary. Sometimes it might seem easier to just do it yourself, and that is the trap. It would be safer to do it yourself, but you cannot get it all done by yourself. Delegation is the only answer.

If you do not delegate effectively, you find yourself working longer hours, having no time to coach your people, things getting out of control, and you end up with more stress than ever before. You may wonder if you got the job because everyone else turned it down. Do not despair; you can get it all done on time and done right by taking steps to effectively delegate.

Delegation is a seven step process. Effective delegation occurs when you answer the questions posed by each step.

  1. Define what needs to be delegated.

    1. What is the task?

    2. When is it due?

    3. What will it look like when it is done?  (How will it be measured and evaluated?)

    4. What are the steps or plan of action to be taken for task completion?

    5. Why is the task important?

  2.  Determine to whom you will delegate the task.

    1. What skills and knowledge is required?

    2. What level of experience is required?

    3. What other responsibilities do they have?  (Would this overload them?)

    4. Does the task fit their abilities, interests and/or need for challenge?

    5. Will this task develop them for the future?  (Will it benefit them?)

  3.  Determine if training will be required.

    1. What specific areas of the task require training?

    2. How will the training be accomplished?

    3. Who will train? When? Where?

  4.  Determine the parameters.

    1. What procedural issues need to be addressed?

    2. What level of authority will the delegate have?

    3. What are the limiting factors?  (Such as time, budget and/or resources.)

  5.  Determine communication issues.

    1. Who needs to be informed of this person’s responsibility?  (Inside and outside the department.)

    2. How will you express confidence in the person’s ability to succeed on an ongoing basis?

  6.  Determine Checkpoints.

    1. What critical points during the task completion process will you use as checkpoints?

    2. How will progress be measured?

    3. What specific information will be needed?

    4. What method of feedback will be used?  (Written, verbal, in person)

  7.  Determine your availability.

    1. What is the person’s level of confidence and competence?

    2. What can you do to encourage independence and at the same time assure them of your availability for support?

    3. Who could they go to for support if you are not available?

Following these seven steps, and answering the questions for effective delegation, will help you feel more comfortable “letting go” and efficiently get things done through others. You will also find that your employees will feel more comfortable receiving delegated tasks. Employees will take on more responsibility and ownership in their work. Your department will get more work done more proficiently. You will have less stress and be more successful.

Hey, maybe this job isn’t so bad after all. You are glad everyone else did turn it down!

By:  Dale Mask

© 2015 Alliance Training and Consulting, Inc.


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