How to Delegate – The Delegation Discussion

how to delegateSo you’ve decided to delegate. You’ve followed the steps in my blog ‘How to Delegate – Getting Started’ and identified; which task(s) to delegate, the most suitable employee to delegate to, and how to work out how much of the task to delegate
The next step in learning how to delegate is about how you talk to the employee about the delegation. Here’s where we need some good preparation because the way you approach the discussion will have a significant impact on how your employee responds to the delegation (and of course delegation is most successful when your employee is enthusiastic and committed to taking over that task and achieving the best results)
Here is a seven step guide to help you have an effective and motivational delegation discussion

How to delegate step one: Introduce the topic

Simply explain that there is a task you want to delegate and that you would like to gain their agreement to taking on the task

How to delegate step two: Describe the task to be delegated

Explain briefly what the task is and explain why the task is important (see more on this in my blog ‘Helping Employees to See the Bigger Picture’)    
Detail the scope of the task – what the employee would and would not be responsible for
Explain in detail what the task is and what the performance objective(s) for the task would be

How to delegate step three: Sell the delegation

The easiest delegations to ‘sell’ are those which:
Develop the employee’s skills, knowledge etc
Relate to the employee’s interests
Build upon their current skills and knowledge.
In these instances you need to illustrate the personal benefits of the delegation to the team member, helping them to see the rewards from taking on the task in terms of their development and growth.
More difficult to sell are those which:
Are intended to gain more time for you to focus on ‘high value activities’
Are intended to fill ‘spare capacity’ i.e. the employee has some spare time 
Are best fit in job terms i.e. a natural extension of work they already undertake  
In these instances consider:
Describing the ‘high value activities’ your want to focus on – the reason you need to gain more time by delegating this task. In my blog What is Delegation? I give a range of examples of ‘high value activities’. If you glance at that list you’ll see that the outcomes of many of those activities – gaining new business, building relationships, learning etc – would directly benefit your employees. In short, you are aiming to help your employee to see the benefits of you spending more time on these activities. It might sound like this:
If you can take on this task…  
I can concentrate more on …
And the benefits to you, me and the team will be … 
Discussing how you see their job and your view on the spare capacity-give examples
Illustrating how you see the delegation fitting into their current job emphasise the practical advantages of them taking over the task

How to delegate step four: Gain agreement

Not actually a separate step-you should be seeking to gain agreement throughout your discussions at step three. This means you need to listen and explore with the team member their views
Remember you have flexibility around the degree of delegation.  As a result of your discussion it may be that you agree to delegate only part of the task rather than the whole task

How to delegate step five: Agree coaching needs

Identify and agree the skills and knowledge needed to successfully complete the task. Assess together the team members current skills and knowledge and identify any gaps

How to delegate step six: Agree the monitoring of the task

Agree how you can best monitor the task and share feedback
Approach this step with caution. Too much monitoring will undermine the team member’s sense of ownership and responsibility. Too little will feel like being dumped on
Involve the team member – have them suggest what to report to you and when (read more on monitoring performance here)

How to delegate step seven: Agree next steps

Conclude by restating the next steps – actions and timescales

How to delegate:Summary

Of course, as a manager, you have the right to delegate tasks. You don’t need to ask permission! However, using a planned approach to the delegation discussion can have a major impact upon your employee’s enthusiasm and commitment to undertaking the task. Really, it’s just about clarity and agreement


Would you like to learn – In just 10 minutes! – some new strategies for how to delegate?

Then why not take a look at my kindle book ‘Learn in Just 10 Minutes…How to Delegate. A step-by-step guide to effective delegation’
‘I would recommend this book to all new managers who want to learn how to delegate and experienced managers who want a quick refresher’ (Nora K)
This book is for managers who want a proven step-by-step guide to effective delegation – and who only have 10 minutes to read it! Check it out on Amazon HERE


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