Leadership Living Well

How, When, and Why to Delegate Tasks

As a leader, it can be exhausting (at best) and even destructive(at worst) to do everything yourself! As a result, it’s incredibly important to know when, how and why to delegate! Many find it difficult to delegate, as relinquishing control is one of the more difficult things to do when we feel invested in something.

Why Delegate?

Other than the fact that you can’t do everything by yourself, there are many good reasons why you should be delegating certain tasks.

Think about how God created the human body. The heart cannot do the job of the brain, the brain cannot do the job of the feet, and the feet cannot do the job of the hands. They’re all created for a specific purpose.

As believers, we are told that God has created us all for a specific purpose. Find your strengths and, when you can, work inside of those strengths. Let others shine in their own strengths. Your team will function much better this way. 

When to Delegate?

Knowing when to delegate is crucial and there are many different situations in which you should be delegating. To identify only a few:

  • You should delegate when you see someone else is more talented at something than you are. (That is if your goal is for your project, community, or business to succeed, over succeeding yourself.)
  • You should also delegate before you stretch yourself too thin: Know your limitations and let others help before you reach your limit. It you wait, it will be too late!
  • You should delegate when you want other people to feel invested in what you’re working on. People are most usually motivated when they feel that they have a chance to make a difference by using and developing their unique set of skills. Let them!

How to Delegate?

More important than why or when, how you delegate is crucial to the success of your work.

Make sure that you do all of the following:

  • Be clear in your expectations. If you need someone to answer the phone and talk to the person on the other end in a specific way, teach them how to do it the way you want them to do it. Don’t just tell them to answer the phones and assume they will do it the way you want them to do it. 
  • Don’t micromanage. While this can be tempting, study after study has shown that micromanaging others is counterproductive to overall productivity and inhibits growth on a personal and organizational level. Plus, it generally makes those being managed feel belittled and like they can’t be trusted. This leads to a negative work environment. 
  • Check in regularly. Ronald Reagan is famous saying, “Trust, but verify.” Do the same with those you lead. Let them know you’ll be checking in regularly and that you would like to have an ongoing dialogue. However, trust that the people you’re working with can do what you’ve asked.
  • Make yourself available to answer questions. This is important when it comes to your time as well as your demeanor. Be approachable and you’ll find that those who do the tasks you delegate will be less likely to make mistakes and more likely to come to you for help. 

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