The 10 Commandments of Effective Delegation

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Thou shalt not just do it thyself.

how to delegate tasks

From ensuring your colleagues have both the capabilities and the time to carry out what you require, to providing clear expectations of the task at hand, successful delegation is an art form not all leaders possess. If barking, “get this back to me by end of play!” is your go-to delegation technique, you might benefit from adhering to Collective Hub’s 10 Commandments of Effective Delegation.


1. No half-baked assignments
Riddle me this, how can the employee carry out the task at hand if you haven’t 100% thought it out? A certain level of preparation is required on your part before issuing an assignment; clearly map out what you require and what your expectations are. If you haven’t got a firm handle on the end product, no one else will either.

2. Honour the task at hand
Once you’ve selected who you want for this particular job, explain why the task is important, why you have selected them for it, and any potential hiccups you can foresee. Providing a bit of background will instil a higher level of commitment.

3. Honour thy colleague by giving them a clear brief
Once they have a clearer understanding of why the task needs to be completed, convey exactly what you need and by when. Depending on what the task is, you might want to discuss budgets, manpower and a specific time frame.

4. Thouest will provide weekly progress updates
If you expect progress updates, now is the time to establish how you would like these delivered (via email? In person?) and how often. Clear guidelines are crucial.

5. Thou shalt confirm understanding
“Does that all sound OK?” should be the next thing to come out of your mouth – or words to that effect. We know you’re busy, but ushering someone out of your office before they’re confident they can do what you require will only lead to disappointment (usually yours).

6. Thou shalt gauge enthusiasm
“Do you have any other concerns?” Does this person feel up to rising to the challenge? Are they worried about their existing workload? Can they foresee any issues? Try to find out how they feel about the task.

7. I am the boss, thy leader
“Let me know if you have any problems, OK?” Outside of your progress reports (if you’ve requested any), your employee should feel able to come to you at any time should they encounter any unexpected roadblocks.

8. Thou shalt not just do it thyself
Because you’ve put in the preparation (well done), you know what needs to be done and when. The only problem is, despite a detailed briefing, your employee just doesn’t get your vision. But before you utter, “Know what? I’ll just do it myself” – stop. Start at the beginning and walk the employee back through it. Taking back responsibility for a job that you delegated to someone else isn’t an option.

9. Thou shalt let it go
The issue isn’t always due to the employee’s lack of understanding, but the delegator’s reluctance to relinquish ownership of the task. If you’re a perfectionist, it’s highly unlikely anyone else will carry out the assignment exactly as you would. Remember, just because someone has executed a task differently to how you would doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong.

10. Choose thy employee wisely
Resist the temptation to always delegate to the same people or person. Sure, they might always do a sterling job, but they won’t appreciate doing the bulk of all the work, not to mention the vulnerable position you’d be in if they suddenly left. Instead, under the tutelage of someone senior, offer a newer member of staff the opportunity to perform a task that they haven’t before, with a view to developing the skills of the entire team.

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