Tips on How to Delegate as a Leader

Hi, my name is Ellen Steinlein, and I’m here to talk with you about delegation. Here at Fierce Conversations, we believe that when done right, delegation is a powerful leadership tool that can help your team members feel valued, that can free up your time so you can focus on some strategic initiatives and ensure that there is clarity around decision making when new responsibilities are being shared with others.

When we run workshops on delegation, the top three reasons we always hear our leaders tell us in terms of why they don’t delegate is:

  1. They don’t have the time or energy to train others
  2. They have a lack of trust in the other person’s ability to get the job done.
  3. There’s a real fear in overloading already full plates.

So here’s a quick glimpse to how I want you to think a little bit differently about the kinds of responsibilities that you delegate. Picture your week. What are the meetings, the activities, the big to-do list items you have? As you visualize all these things that go on in your typical week, I want you to think of the one or two biggest time takers that fit into three specific criteria. A, it’s something you love doing, B, it’s something you’re really good at. And C, it adds significant value to your team or your department or your clients. I’m asking you to think about your biggest time takers in this way. Because I don’t want you to end up “della dumping” your least favorite items on your to-do list to others.

Instead, I’m asking you to identify opportunities that not only free up a significant amount of your time. But more importantly, it’s an investment in developing someone else’s capabilities in a meaningful way. So once you’ve done that, think about who would really love this new opportunity, this new responsibility, maybe it’s aligned with their career goals, or you notice every time you talk about this project, they lean in a little bit and they get excited about it. Or maybe it taps perfectly into their skill set. Talk to them about the opportunity and why you would want to delegate it to them. And then think about how much decision making power you’d like to start them off with.

If it’s someone seasoned who you know, will really knock it out of the park, give them full ownership, let them run with it. If it’s someone who needs a little bit more coaching and feedback, provide that to them along the way until they can take full ownership of it with confidence.

At the end of the day, once you’ve delegated in this unique way, how much time will you have saved? Maybe it’s a couple hours a week, which translates to eight to 12 hours a month. Think about the new stretch projects that you can take on maybe those bucket list professional growth opportunities, you’ve always had to say no to because you just didn’t have the time. Now you have a way to say yes to those wonderful opportunities.

So good luck, and delegate. Well, thanks for tuning in, and we’ll see you next time.



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