4 Tips for Successful Delegation


We all know delegation is inevitable as we grow in our leadership roles; however, it’s often easier said than done. The hesitancy to delegate can occur for many reasons, such as a fear of loss of control over the work, a lack of time to devote to necessary training, or not wanting to burden someone else with additional projects.

Although it may be easier to avoid delegating, it’s important to understand that each time we do, we inadvertently deny others a critical opportunity for growth. Delegation allows employees to learn new skills and gain exposure to a broader variety of work while also opening up our time to take on new challenges.

The next time you see an opportunity to delegate, follow these steps recommended by HRDQ to ensure your success:

1. Set clear expectations

In order to succeed in your delegation efforts, you should start with the end in mind. In other words, it’s important that the person who will be handling the project understands the “big picture” and what is expected of them. Be clear in the outcome you desire but keep in mind that it is the end result that matters, not the process that is used to get there. Focus on the “what” of the project rather than the detailed “how.”

2. Establish communication preferences

Be sure to establish your communication preferences in advance. For example, how often do you want to be updated on the status of the project? How do you prefer to receive these updates?

 Most importantly, work together to establish a reasonable deadline for the work. For bigger projects, it might be helpful to set some interim checkpoints to help keep the project moving along.

Finally, be sure that you communicate with yourself, too. Don’t rely on your memory! Write down the task, employee, milestones and deadline because the responsibility for the project ultimately stays with you.


3. Offer guidance/support

Of course, it’s also important that the person to which you are delegating understands that you are available for questions. Ask them how you can help support their work from the get-go. However, be wary of “reverse delegation” and taking the project back without knowing it. For example, if you respond “let me think about that” to a question, the ball is back in your court! Instead, ask the employee for their ideas and help them think through the problem.


4. Provide feedback

Since delegating work should provide growth opportunities for others, it is imperative that you review the employee’s work and offer timely feedback. If the project does not meet your expectations, do not redo the work yourself. Rather, take the time to offer the appropriate feedback and train the employee so they can avoid making the same mistake in the future. This final step is critical in ensuring that future delegation efforts go smoothly and end in success.


The next time you come across a project that can be delegated, take the extra time to offer the opportunity to someone else in your organization. It will likely be a worthwhile learning experience for both of you. As John C. Maxwell said, “If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.”





Marisa Gift is the Training and Development Manager at Lutz with over 15 years of experience. She helps shape the firm’s training and development strategy while also managing Lutz’s campus recruiting, orientation and mentoring programs.

  • Human Resources
  • Training
  • Leadership Development
  • Campus Recruiting
  • Performance
  • Association for Talent Development, Member
  • Human Resource Association of the Midlands, Member
  • Society for Human Resource Management, Member
  • BA in Communication Studies & Politics, Drake University, Des Moines, IA
  • MA in Communication, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Publicity Committee
  • Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Music Ministry
  • Drake University National Alumni Board of Directors, Past Board Member


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