To Delegate or not to delegate? 5 things to keep in mindPosted by On February 2, 2017

To Delegate or not to delegate? 5 things to keep in mind 1

Delegation can be a wonderful thing or it can land up being your worst nightmare. Your feelings about delegation may depend on past positive or negative experiences, your personality type, how you view control and how confident you are to relinquish control  to someone else.

However, we know that if we don’t delegate and try to do everything ourselves we limit ourselves and our business growth.

To get it right and to avoid the nightmare of everything going wrong, here are a few ideas you can keep in mind when delegating to your colleagues, team members and suppliers.

1. They are not you

The sooner you come to terms with the fact that the person you are delegating to is not you, and therefore will not execute the plan in precisely the same way as you, the better it is for everyone concerned. Yes, you may have better attention to detail, but they may work better under pressure. Everyone brings their own strengths to the table and everyone will complete a task in their own unique way. Just remember, their manner is not wrong if the  performance standards have been met along the way and the goal has been achieved.

Allow them to take control of the project or task. Let them take ownership. Give them authority.

2. Know the capabilities of the person you are delegating to

For you the task may be simple and something you could achieve with your eyes closed. This may not be the case for the person you are delegating to. Before you hand over the task, put yourself in that person’s shoes. Try to see the task from their perspective. It may be a breeze, but it also may be quite overwhelming, stressful and a real stretch for them. By understanding their capabilities and limits you can work with them. Remember they are not you, so go into the delegation process with your eyes wide open.

3. It’s not over till its over

To delegate successfully you need to understand that you still play a part in the project execution, your role however has just shifted from “doer” to “observer”. You are sadly mistaken if you think that you can completely wash your hands of the task after giving out instructions.

Depending on the length of time it will take to complete the task as well as how complicated the task is, it is always a good idea to install a few safety nets. Decide prior to the start of execution together with the person who is performing the task how often they will be checking in with you and reporting back on how the task is progressing.  No safety nets can result in disastrous outcomes.

4. Have realistic expectations

As we have already established this person who you are delegating to is not you. Therefore your personal  abilities with regards to achievable time frames, required resources and skill set is not necessarily theirs. Prior to pushing the go button on the project, be very clear what both parties expectations are.

Agree and sign off on method of execution, time frames, resources, additional training or assistance. Making things transparent from the beginning will save huge amounts of time, energy and money and less headaches.

5. To delegate or not to delegate?
Yes, there are tasks and projects that you cannot and shouldn’t delegate. This would be based on your job function and level of responsibility. The general always has the final say on the attack strategy, the CEO will always have final sign off on a new business initiative and IT manager will always be the keeper of the master passwords.
Think about what your speciality is. Why are you in the business? What is your area of expertise? Why would you want to delegate these tasks or projects out? You may just delegate yourself out of a job. If that is the plan and you wish to move on or shift roles in the business, then go ahead and implement a succession plan. But if not, hold onto the reason why you are there and the unique value that you add.
Need assistance and want to utilise the services of a business coach? contact Nicole at
Nicole Coyne



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Nicole Coyne

Nicole is a certified professional coach as well as a certified trainer, advanced assessor and coach mentor. Based in Auckland, she provides a range of coaching options, from individual business owner and management coaching, group and team coaching workshops to personal coaching. Her coaching practice is aligned to the ICF ethos and ethics. Need to hire a professional coach? Contact Nicole