All leaders know how important delegation is. We have many tasks and activities that someone else on the team should be doing.

Here is the challenge: when we get overloaded, the temptation is to just “get this off my to-do list.” Care must be taken to ensure we are not pushing our work to someone else. That is not delegation.

When delegating, we must be confident that the other person can execute the task effectively. Below are some questions to consider before delegating.

  • Do they have time? Do they need help prioritizing?
  • Have they expressed interest in the task or project?
  • Do they have the necessary skills to execute?
  • Do they typically meet deadlines?
  • If others are involved, do they work well with others?

I think it’s critical that you clarify the expectations. In addition, communicate the why. Here is a good framework I have used that is helpful when delegating:

  • STATE THE WHY: clarify why the task, project, or initiative is important now.
  • STATE THE WHAT: articulate what success looks like and how you will measure progress.
  • STATE THE HOW: describe the guidelines, resources, accountability, and the impact of the specific task.

In the absence of any or all of the above, you may have the task back in your lap, which is different from the outcome you want.

It’s often common for busy leaders to either reclaim tasks or delegate them inadequately. Sometimes, we may make assumptions without thoroughly investigating what’s happening in their workplace.

In my coaching practice, clients have access to my Leader’s Tool Kit, which includes a tool called “The 4 E’s of Execution.” At its core lie expectation and equipping. We address questions like: Have I established expectations and have clear evidence? Is this person adequately equipped with the skills and resources needed to complete the task?

Navigating the complexities of leadership often involves a delicate balance between delegation and oversight. Recognizing the pitfalls of reclaiming tasks or delegating inadequately is crucial for fostering a culture of trust and empowerment within teams. Through thoughtful reflection and proactive engagement, leaders can cultivate an environment where everyone feels valued, supported, and capable of achieving their goals.

Today, I would like to challenge you to articulate the ask, delegate the task, and watch what your team can achieve.