How to Delegate Effectively

Picture a soccer team. Their star player is about to take a penalty kick, but he seems a little nervous. Now imagine the team manager coming out from the sidelines. He trots up to the penalty spot, takes a few steps back and—kicks the ball himself, and it flies past the goalie and into the net.

Is that something you’ve ever seen happen? Me neither. Not only does it break the rules of soccer, it also ignores a cornerstone of basic managing: delegation.

I’m no soccer coach, but I do help CEOs and managers develop their leadership teams. And one thing I know for sure is that it’s not a manager’s job to do everyone’s job for them, but to help them perform at their best and grow in their position.

Let’s review the four basic principles of delegation.

When delegating a task to someone, start with the “Why.” Explaining the reason behind this task shows respect because you’re acknowledging the value of their time, too.

Next is “What.” The more specific you are about what you want, the more likely you get your result.

Then comes “Who.” Be clear about who is responsible for which pieces.

And finally, “When.” Always communicate the deadline.

Management is getting results from other people. By following this process, you’ll begin the journey toward effective delegation as a manager.

The whys and hows of delegation from Time Management for Managers by Dave Crenshaw


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