2.3.2 Delegating


2.3.2 Delegating

Topic Progress:

Remember the 3 key motivators for skilled people doing complex work?  Money is not one of them – but purpose is!  Well the other two are autonomy and mastery which is great because you can tap into these motivators through effective delegation – and they means reduce the demand on you – Win Win!!

Consider the following diagram.  Empowering delegation is about moving the fulcrum over – increasing your leverage so that more can be achieved than one person (you) can achieve on their own. This means not only doing work, but enabling the people and the systems to do work through development, empowerment and continuous improvement.

This diagram identifies the key steps to empowering delegation.

Empowering delegation builds a stewardship mentality in that the staff become their own boss; they are motivated to achieve real outcomes, using their own creative energies, evaluate and report back on their own performance.

The steps of empowering delegation are:

1. Mindset: That means yours!  You have to assume that they are interested in doing their best, and that they are adults fully capable of managing themselves – and then make this expectation explicit! If you do not believe this, then you are likely to disempower them and need to do everything – which of course will add to your overload!

2. Agreeing on outputs – or outcomes.  This is about clarify their roles and the purpose of their roles.  Be clear what you are counting on that role to do – their accountabilities.

3. Defining the boundaries – or how people need to work (rules of the game; resources; no go zones or non-negotiables; budget limits; hard deadlines; etc)

4. Providing the resources they need to do a good job. Do they have the skills and tools to do the job at the level you expect?  Ask them what they need.

5. Monitoring their progress – Possible the point where delegation falls down will be the follow up and reporting back.  Have them report back at regular and predictable intervals (using the reports we cover later)

6. Ensuring the right consequences match the results achieved.  This is about building the capability, capacity and confidence of your team so even when the results are not as good as expected use this as an opportunity to learn, coach and improve – rather than an opportunity to punish, criticise or blame.

Two tips:

Tailor to skill and experience levels – You would apply these a little differently depending on the level of maturity , experience and competence of the person.  Compared with someone who is more mature or competent, an immature person or someone who is new, might be responsible for fewer outcomes, need more boundaries or guidelines, need more resources, have more frequent reports back, and require more immediate consequences.

Control you need to control – and to tell them how they should do their roles – unless they really do not know. Let them take the lead of their own roles. Make it their job to figure out what is important and to manage themselves as much as possible. Much of the work you do in sorting and scaffolding will set this up.


  • What are the QI and QIII tasks/issues you could reduce right now by delegating? Download the worksheet and list these and the actions you need to take to enable them to pick up these actions/projects/roles?
  • What systems will you use to capture the work you have delegated so you can monitor how it is progressing?  I use Trello, but there are other team work management systems such as: Solve 360, Asana or the simple excel worksheet such as this downloadable: Weekly work plan)


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