Friday, July 19

“To delegate or not to delegate?” that is the question!

Today I want to give some key note input to this important topic – delegation.  These notes will help both those doing the delegation and those being delegated to.  It also applies to when delegating to a team, not just to an individual.


synonyms for delegation:
assignment, entrusting, giving, committal, devolution, deputation

key concepts in delegation: 
Mission’:  delegation is purposeful, it is definable. 
Entrusting’: delegation is the giving away of work tasks, projects or assignments with a trust that it will be completed to a certain standard. 
Deputation’:  the one who is delegated to is acting on behalf of another.


Delegation makes the best use of your skills and time, whilst, at the same time it empowers & skills up others which is of long term value all round. So it develops, grooms and motivates.


– A lot of up front effort
– We can do it quicker ourselves
– We can do it better
– Afraid it won’t get done
– The task or responsibility gives you identity


Decide what can be delegated :
– Generally things that free you to focus on that which you are MOST gifted at doing. e.g.. Pioneering the new software, rather than writing the handbook.
– A task that someone else can do and is not critical for you to do.
– Delegation is perfect for a task that will recur, in a similar form, in the future.

Do you have enough time to delegate the job effectively? ie. ongoing coaching is important

Decide who you can delegate to. 
So ask yourself : What are your reasons for delegating to this person or team?  Is this a development opportunity? What are they going to get out of it? What are you going to get out of it? Do they have the skills or the ability to gain the skills? Do they have or can they make the time for it (work reshuffle)?  Do they have the attitude (flexibility) to take this on?

Remember to tell others who need to know that you handed this task on.

Define Well
Make clear what you’re delegating, and what your expectations are of outcomes.

Whether you describe how to do the task will depend on the persons level of experience and capability and what creative room there is in the project. 

If you would like creativity & initiative to be taken (often a better approach by the way), make the parameters clear: where are the lines of authority, responsibility & accountability? Budgets, resources, etc.  

When encouraging initiative include them in the delegation process of choosing what to delegate and how to approach it.

Write it down.

Have an ‘open door’ throughout
It’s important the person doesn’t feel abandoned, especially if new at this. 

Coaching is important.  Good coaching gives required information, but also asks the right questions – “what do you think might be the best outcome here?”, “how would you prefer to go about it?”  Asking questions from the outset helps you determine how well they understand what they need to do.  

However avoid “upward delegation.” If there is a problem, don’t allow the person to shift responsibility for the task back to you: ask for recommended solutions; and don’t simply provide an answer.

Find balance between being involved & giving space.  Agree on what basis you want to know something.

Always feedback & debrief.  Remember delegation was not just about you getting a task off your hands it was also about developing another person.

Set aside enough time to review it thoroughly. If possible, only accept good quality, fully-complete work. If you accept work you are not satisfied with, your team member does not learn to do the job properly. Plus you will probably need to complete it yourself, overloading & taking you off focus.

Motivate & Reward

Discuss how this will help them, what skills they could develop, reward and praise for the job well done.

True delegation is key to great multiplication & significant increased capacity.
The delegation principles Jesus used in the feeding of the 5000:
“You give them what they need”  – be clear what the task is you’re giving away
“Sit them down in groups of 50” – He coached them on how to get started
Empower – bring them into your faith circle, He prayed in their vicinity