Why delegate anyway?

  • To give yourself more personal time.
  • To get your business to do more and you achieve more.
  • To be able to grow your business more effectively.
  • To improve productivity and efficiency – both of yourself and of your key people. To allow for the growth and development of your staff.
  • To teach your staff to accept more responsibility and feel more valuable.

The key steps of delegation. Before you delegate – use this test…

The key is to ask, “What’ s the worst that could happen – and can I live with that?” If you feel that you could live with the worst that could happen – then you delegate.

What is the cost of not delegating?

Compare the cost to you of your time per hour – against the cost per hour of a team member (or outside source). Then decide if the job should be delegated or not.

The Process of Delegation to a staff member:

  1. Have a clearly defined Set of Policies in Place that the staff member can refer to for guidance – and be prepared to stand behind the staff member’s decisions based on those policies.
  2. Give them the Skills and Training needed to do the task.
  3. Give them the Responsibility to take the action required.
  4. Give them the Authority to be able take the action required.
  5. Give them a Time Frame to complete the task.
  6. Give them a Clear Picture of what outcome you want.
  7. Give them Feedback so they know if they are producing what you want.
  8. Keeping control – monitoring after you have delegated.


Too often we think we are Superman and able to do everything ourselves.

We say things like “it would be quicker to do it myself”, “no one does this as well as I do” and we make ourselves believe we are the only one who can do our job or complete a project a certain way. This thinking reduces your productivity and prevents you achieving your goals. Choose to delegate. Choose to be more productive by teaching others and helping build their skill set.

Delegation is Hard Work!

In the short term delegation is harder than doing it yourself! In the normal course of events the person you delegate to:

  •  Will take longer than you.
  •  Will make mistakes and quite likely mess the whole thing up!
  •  The job will probably need to be done twice.
  •  They will most likely waste time, resources and money!

Maybe that’s why many business owners fall into the trap of doing too much themselves and not delegating! When delegation is done because the Business Owner is worn out, feels trapped, or is just told to by their Coach it’s more likely that they will Abdicate than Delegate and prove to themselves that. “Delegation doesn’t work.”

Abdication is when you think you have delegated, but you have not effectively used the tips below!

13 tips to help you delegate

1. Make sure you have the right people on your Team.

Having the “Right People doing the Right Thing” is just about more important than anything else in business.

Many Business Owners put up with employees that they should have long sacked! If you’re intimidated by NZ employment law, if you’re thinking, “better the devil I know” or “it’s just too hard to find good people” then you need to talk with your ActionCOACH. Life is too short and your Business is too important to put up with second best!

2. Understand there are two types of Trust and give people the opportunity to prove they are trustworthy…

It’s one thing to trust an employee’s ethics, honesty and integrity – it’s a different thing to trust their capability. As a business owner you can be let down in both areas. Before you blindly trust ensure who you are trusting is trustworthy in both areas. Test ethics, integrity and honesty in the little things. If someone takes lollies from a packet on your desk without asking or $5.00 left on the counter ends up in their pocket you can you trust them with the larger things when you’re not present? Provide opportunities for your team to earn your trust, both in areas of ethics and in the areas of their capabilities.

Even if an employee is as honest as the day is long would you trust them to fill in the GST return if you weren’t absolutely sure they had the capability? Trusting someone’s capabilities comes from you giving them opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities while you still have control and the ability to recognise and correct their errors before they are detrimental to your business.

Never trust someone just because they say they are trustworthy, their CV looks good or they seem a good and capable person. When an employee breaks your trust be sure to feed it back to them in a way that both confronts their behaviour and gives them a way to redeem themselves. If you’re not sure what words to use, take 5, call your ActionCOACH and talk it through. Employees earning your trust is a process you must orchestrate if you are ever to delegate effectively.

3. When people have proven themselves trustworthy then trust them.

One of the biggest reasons you don’t delegate is because you don’t trust other people to complete a task or activity your way. Once they have proven themselves trustworthy, both ethically and in capability, then accept they will not do things exactly like you (and maybe your way is not the best way!?) Accept that sometimes 80% completion is better than 0% completion.

Having chosen the person to do the task, tell them why they are the right person for this task.

4. Trust yourself

Believe you will give people the best instructions on how to complete tasks, know that you are the best person to delegate activities. Trust what you know.

5. Start by delegating small tasks first

To build your trust when delegating, start with small and less important tasks to build up your confidence that people can follow your instructions. When they do the job properly be sure to commend them. If they do not do it properly then use the CRC principle. (Commend, Recommend, Commend)

For Example: Good on you for giving it a go! When you’re telephoning people you need to start by asking them if this is a convenient time to talk – people are often busy and you’ll get a better response by doing that. I did hear you ask a great question about what they were looking for – shows you’re focussing on their needs. Now make another call, record it, and bring it back to me for another critique.

Sometimes it can be very hard to find something to commend. You either need to get over yourself and be encouraging or refer back to item 1.

6. Create a template for task delegation

Write down specific details of the action, the date and time required relevant documentation that relates to the task and the interested parties in the task. Explain this to the person you are delegating to, then check off the completed task against your template or written instructions. Hold them accountable to the details.

7. Ask the person to repeat their understanding to you

Once you have delegated the task ask the person to describe it back to you (in their own words), what the task is and how it is to be completed. At this point you can clarify any misunderstandings.

8. Communicate your expectations

People don’t read minds. Be clear if you have expectations, explain these in detail and once again get the person to repeat them back to you. If you have a certain way of doing something and you want that repeated – make that very clear. If there are consequences for not doing the job properly then be sure they are communicated up front.

Put down it in writing what the basic outcomes are that you want achieved, timeframe etc,.

You only have yourself to blame if the job goes wrong and you didn’t communicate clearly your expectations and the level of detail necessary.

Ask them if there’s anything that might get in their way of completing the task. Thanks them in advance for the great job they going to do.

9. Set clear timeframes

Start by asking them when they think they can get the job done. Don’t tell them when you want it because this takes away the “ownership” from them. If it’s not fast enough for you then say you were hoping to have it done by a specific date and time and provide the reasons why this is required. Get agreement.

Often when delegating we get frustrated because people don’t complete things in the same time we do, understand while people are learning it may take more time. You must get them to note the time in their diary and let them know that you have diarised it also.

10. Train and systemize at the same time

Here’s a great way save even more time. Instead of devoting all this time to just training a person once, get them to create a record of the systems for themselves. That way you’ll achieve two tasks in one action, train and get a system/manual written. You delegate the writing/recording of the system to the trainee! You don’t need to record the system and it’s much better that it’s written in their own words too. And this record can be used again for many future trainees…it’s called “systemizing”!

So, as you train the person the first time, get them to write down (or even record in video or audio) the steps, checklist and/or instructions on what to do for this task. This will take longer,

however that’s what delegating is all about…you have to put in time now to gain yourself a huge amount of time later.

After this first step, delegate the trainee to write up their instructions fully, and then come back to watch them perform the task the second time. They have to follow their instruction without prompting from you. If you have to correct or explain the instructions in any way to the trainee, make sure that the trainee makes their own changes to the instructions in their own words, not your words. Then they perform the task the third time without you watching. You check their work, and review their instructions/recordings to ensure it’s all good, before letting them do it by themselves.

Now you have a fully trained person, a bit more of the system recorded, one less job to do, one less worry, and can leverage that time you’ve gained to do more delegating and working ON your business…that’s a many multiple gain in time!

11. Give feedback

Once the task is completed let the person know how they performed according to your instructions, expectations and timeframes.

12. Praise the delegate and congratulate yourself

Be quick to praise, always. Take time to recognise their achievement through praise or an appropriate reward. Congratulate yourself for trusting someone else to complete activities or tasks you would normally complete yourself.

13. Release control while maintaining accountability

Recognise you can’t do everything all the time and you will benefit from the help of others. Once they have proved their trustworthiness, been effectively trained and demonstrated their ability to do the tasks delegated, them give them the freedom to go for it.

You can never let go of the function of monitoring what’s happening in your business. Do this through regular reporting systems and occasional “management by wandering around”. Monitoring performance is vital and often a major reason businesses fail!

All the time keep them accountable to report their results. Remember that the job is not done until the paperwork is finished. It’s your job to ensure you receive the reports and KPIs you need to know that your investment in your business is in good shape.

Remember delegating can help boost your productivity and help you focus on more important tasks while still achieving results. Delegation has the power of leverage. If you delegate badly or abdicate that leverage will work against you. If you invest the time to delegate well the leverage will work for you – and that’s a beautiful thing!