Delegation at Work: 6 Leadership Best Practices

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Delegation is one of the top skills leaders must have to be effective. Execute it as one of the main aspects of an effective management style. Establish clear goals and objectives for each task or job that is delegated, and ensure all stakeholders know what you expect from them. In this blog, we will explore the meaning of delegation and its importance. Also, we will closely look at when and how to delegate work with the six best leadership practices. By following these tips, you can delegate work effectively and manage your behavior when delegating work. Are you ready to learn more? Read on!

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash on delegation
Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

What is delegation?

A delegation is an act of transferring authority or duty from one person to another. It happens in a formal or informal setting and can take many different forms.

When it is formal, it’s usually done through documents like job descriptions or form letters. When it is informal, it happens when employees communicate with each other about their responsibilities and make decisions as a team. It is also either when an individual takes on extra work or someone offers to help another employee without expecting anything in return.

Whatever the case, it’s vital to remember that it should always be consensual. And ideally, everyone involved should feel comfortable with the decisions involved.

What are the different types of delegation?

It is a chief leadership skill that can help teams work efficiently and effectively. Leaders must know the different types of delegation and the best practices to follow for each.

Here are the FOUR types you must be aware of:

1. Functional delegation is the most basic form of delegation, in which one person delegates tasks to another without changing their job duties. 

2. Structured delegation is a more advanced form of delegation in which tasks are organized into specific categories and assigned to people. It helps to increase efficiency and improves workflow within an organization. 

3. Co-operative delegation is when two or more people work together to complete a task as a team. It helps to ensure everyone understands the expectation and works together harmoniously towards a common goal. 

4. Parallel processing is when multiple people work on the same task together to speed up the process. You will notice it in areas where speed is critical, like manufacturing or software development projects. It helps complete the tasks in less time.

Why is delegation important?

Effective delegation is a cardinal skill for any employee. It’s crucial in the workplace. It allows employees to focus on tasks without worrying about the larger picture.

After delegating, you can free up your time to do more vital tasks. It will allow you to achieve your goals faster and with less stress. Also, when you empower your employees, you create a sense of trust and loyalty within the organization. It will help promote collaboration and cooperation, which are essential in a team environment. 

It also allows employees to learn new skills and increase their knowledge base. They can also develop niche skills that suit their role in the organization. By giving them responsibility for specific tasks, you allow them to learn from their mistakes and grow as a professional. 

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How to delegate effectively?

Delegating work can be a massive time-saver for leaders. Ensure that your team members remain productive and can focus on the most crucial tasks. Make a plan before delegating work so that the process runs smoothly.

Encourage team members to ask for assistance when they need it. And give everyone a fair share of the workload. Make sure that each person understands what they need to do and when they need to do it. Delegating the work will not only save you time but will also help team members to feel more engaged and motivated.

Medium of delegation

There are many ways delegation can take place at work, but the most commonly used medium is ’email’ to share the work. When delegating tasks through email, it’s vital to ensure that all the necessary information is there so that the recipient knows what they’re supposed to do. It’s also important to include clear instructions and deadlines to avoid ambiguity or confusion about the task. It helps in time management and the team’s productivity.

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Skills required for successful delegation.

Delegating work is a daunting task, but it’s essential for good leaders.

If you’re looking to improve your delegation skills, several tips can help: 

– When you structure your work, it’s easy to identify which areas need attention. It will make it easier for you to delegate those areas without feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Do it the first time – it becomes a habit as you practice.

– Give people enough autonomy so that they feel able to take risks without fear of repercussions. However, ensure that these risks are worth taking – otherwise, they will hand everything over to you. If they need coaching, enable it to them.

– Make sure team members understand why tasks are shared and their responsibilities. It will help them feel confident in carrying out their duties. And it will also ensure that the work is completed on time and to the best possible standards.

Possible roadblocks when delegating.

There are a few potential roadblocks when delegating work at the workplace. The most common reason why delegations don’t go as planned is that someone isn’t clear on what they’re asking of the delegate, or they don’t have enough information to give them.

If you’re unsure how to delegate work, it’s best to start by dividing it into small, manageable tasks that you can easily track and monitor. This way, you’ll be able to see whether the delegate is meeting your expectations and whether their work is proceeding according to plan. 

Another common obstacle is communication breakdowns. If your team members aren’t communicating effectively, it will be difficult for them to understand the job and who should be assigned which task. It can lead to frustration on both sides, and eventually, it won’t go as planned. 

Finally, egos can also hamper – people who are reluctant to let others take charge and step up. If this happens, it will be difficult for the team to achieve its objectives. For delegation to be successful, everyone needs to feel comfortable stepping up and taking on new responsibilities. Also, make sure to assign tasks to the right people.

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How to manage your behavior when delegating?

It is a crucial part of many jobs, and it can be helpful to manage your behavior when delegating tasks to others. A good manager follows the below tips,

Set boundaries. Make sure that you set clear expectations for what the delegate will be able to do, and make sure that they understand your expectations. This way, you won’t end up with any misunderstandings or frustration on their part.

Be honest and straightforward. Let the delegate know what you need, and don’t try to sugarcoat anything. It will help to fulfill your requests without any surprises – and it’ll save both of you time in the long run.

Stay disciplined. Don’t let yourself get bogged down by a lot of small details. Stick to the basics and ensure that everything gets done on time – this will show your delegation partner that you’re serious about delegating work effectively. Remember, micromanaging will damage the relationship between the manager and employee.

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When should you delegate?

Delegation can be a great way to save time and boost productivity. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when delegating to manage work. It applies to new managers, individual contributor, and experienced managers.

First, ensure you’re clear about who is responsible for each task. It will help avoid any confusion or conflict down the road.

Secondly, always give your delegates explicit instructions on what they are supposed to do. This way, they know the task and won’t have any doubts about it.

And lastly, be patient with your delegates – it may take them a little time to get used to the new system as part of the professional development. But once they do, you’ll be glad you made the switch!

Remember, it is a team effort to reduce the manager’s workload – everyone should be involved and contribute in some way. It aids the proper transfer of responsibility.

6 Best practices followed by leaders when delegating.

Effective delegating is a necessary part of leadership management skills, but it can be daunting. With proper training, leaders select appropriate team members for delegation to improve the team’s productivity. To make the process easier, effective managers and world-class leaders follow these SIX best practices as a delegator:

  1. Delegate what you can do yourself.

    It is the first and most important principle. Leaders only delegate tasks they can complete themselves without any difficulty or inconvenience. It helps to ensure they can focus on more important matters and remain productive throughout the workday.

  2. Set clear and concise expectations for those who will be delegated tasks.

    Effective leader clearly state the requirement to those involved to perform the right tasks with deadlines. It will help avoid misunderstandings or mismatches between the delegator and delegate.

  3. Give feedback promptly and objectively.

    Effective leaders provide constructive feedback during performance reviews on the task’s progress. Also, communicate any changes or amendments that are necessary along the way. It allows the employees to know exactly where they stand and whether their efforts are bearing fruit or not. It also helps to build trust and rapport between leaders and subordinates, which is essential in a collaborative environment like a workplace. Remember to reward staff members for their best work.

  4. Make sure delegation is ongoing and continuous.

    Even after a task is complete, leaders monitor the employees to see how they are doing. They also help if any additional changes or amendments are necessary. This way, it’s easy to complete tasks effectively without unnecessary delays.

  5. Keep an open mind when delegating.

    Leaders do not rule out the possibility of transferring either full or partial ownership of a task over to those involved. Also, by considering all possible scenarios and opportunities, leaders ensure the transfer of work is efficient.

  6. Be patient with those who have been delegated.

    It is vital not to delegate a task with unrealistic goals or expectations. Instead, leaders are generous in their praise and offer constructive criticism when necessary to help those employees completing the task reach their full potential. It improves team morale and promotes a culture of trust. A better manager also provides mentoring.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I effectively delegate tasks without feeling resentful or overwhelmed?

The art of delegating improves with practice. There are a few steps that can help make it easier:

1. Make a list of the tasks that need to be delegated and the specific responsibilities assigned to each person.

2. Create timeframes for task completion, and ensure that everyone understands the deadlines.

3. Communicate with the delegated person regularly to let them know how they are progressing and check their satisfaction with the task.

4. Give the delegated person feedback on their work, including specific instructions or recommendations if necessary.

What are some effective techniques for working with a difficult colleague?

There are many effective techniques for working with a difficult colleague. The first step is to understand the task and what is necessary to complete it. Next, create a timeline and milestones for the project so that both parties know when things progress. Finally, assign the task to the most qualified person available and give them guidelines on how they should proceed.

Is it possible to over-delegate at work and still be successful?

Always remember that effective delegation is a critical process. Perform it in a way that’s comfortable for both the delegate and the person who is delegating. If either of them feels like they’re taken advantage of or if you micromanage, then this process of delegation will become a frustrating mess. 

Another thing to remember is that too much delegation can lead to less productivity and unnecessary stress. When you delegate tasks poorly, it becomes a slow and inefficient performance. Plus, it pressurizes the original creator to complete it quickly. 

So, while it’s possible to over-delegate at work, doing so typically comes with negative consequences that outweigh any benefits. If you’re looking to delegate more tasks but still maintain a high level of productivity and efficiency, then it’s vital to consider these factors before starting the process.


Delegation is one of the most crucial skills leaders must have to be effective. By understanding the different types of delegation, and the skills and techniques required, you can ensure that your work is efficient and effectively done. Follow the best leadership practices listed to manage your work effectively and delegate work efficiently and successfully.

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