What to Delegate

Successful delegation relies, in part, on choosing the right tasks to delegate. After completing this section of the training module you should be able to:

  • Identify which tasks you should delegate.
  • Identify which tasks you should not delegate.
  • Understand why or why not to delegate these tasks.


What You Should Delegate

The following eight tasks are ones that you should delegate.

1. Routine Tasks

These may be tasks that need to be done once a week, once a month, or once every time a project is completed. Before delegating these tasks, make sure that they are necessary. Unnecessary tasks should be eliminated.

2. Interesting Tasks

Do not keep all of the fun tasks for yourself. This will offend your teammates and cause them to resist the boring tasks that you give them.

3. Tasks Others Could Do Better

Use your team members’ skills and abilities. Give them the tasks that they could do better so that you can devote your time to other things. Do not compete with your team members. If they can do a task better, let them do it.

4. Tasks Others Might Enjoy

If you have completed a certain task repeatedly, you may have become bored with it. Delegate this task to a teammate if you think they would enjoy it. If a teammate volunteers for a certain task, let them have it.

5. Tasks Good for Development

Delegate tasks to team members who would benefit from the additional skill development. If you are already good at completing a certain task, let someone else have a chance to try it.

6. Whole Tasks

Try to delegate whole tasks instead of dividing them into pieces. In this way, your team members will see the development and outcome of the task and enjoy it more. This will also prevent you from having to worry about keeping the pieces together.

7. Time-Consuming Tasks

If you need to spend more time planning and strategizing, delegate your most time-consuming tasks. This will free up the time you need to do your job.

8. Tasks for Which You Are Not Responsible

People often keep tasks that they enjoy most for themselves even if the task is not their responsibility. These tasks are not the best way to spend your time and energy.

These eight tasks are ones that you should try to delegate as often as possible.

What You Should Not Delegate

The following seven tasks are ones that you should avoid delegating.

1. Boring Tasks

Delegate tasks that your teammates will be interested in. If you must delegate a boring task, explain the task’s importance.

2. Crises

Real crises may need your authority or expertise to resolve. Do not pass this obligation on to someone who does not have the proper background to resolve the issue.

3. Ill-Defined Tasks

Make sure that the person you delegate a task to understands what the task is. Ill-defined tasks cause people to waste a lot of time.

4. Confidential Matters

Leaders must deal with confidential matters at times. Do not delegate these tasks to others because you will lose the trust of your team.

5. Praise or Reprimand

Take time out to praise a teammate for a job well done. If a team member needs a reprimand or needs help getting back on track, it is best if you deal with that person yourself and in private.

6. Planning the Development of Your Team

Planning and strategizing are your job as a team leader. Do not delegate the control of your team, and remember that you are ultimately responsible for you team’s success or failure. If the LL2 leader had not learned to delegate, she would have taken the fall for her team’s failure.

7. Tasks for Which You Are Responsible

Again, do not delegate strategy and planning. Also, do not delegate a task that someone has asked you to do personally. There may be a special reason for why they want you to complete the task. If you want to delegate this task, first discuss it with the person who requested that you do it.

We have covered the types of tasks that you should and should not delegate to your teammates. We have prepared a worksheet to help you determine which tasks you should delegate to others.

The following Key Points page will focus your attention on the most important aspects covered in this section.

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