Your people don’t suck, you do at leading them!

Each day as leaders we give our team task to accomplish. Too many leaders suffocate their teams by micromanaging or leave their teams in the dark by not giving them enough clarity.

As a leader, your job is to assign the task to the right person, cast the vision, confirm clarity then let go. Here are some simple steps to STEP up your leadership game.


Step 1 – Decide who to delegate to. 

The factors to consider here include:

  • Experience, knowledge and skills of the individual as they apply to the delegated task.
  • Individual’s preferred work style.
  • Current workload of this person.

Step 2 – Introduce the task.

  • Give the big picture.
  • Explain the result you intend to have. By doing this we should be able to _____.
  • Give necessary items for the task (if any)
  • Clearly articulate the desired outcome

Step 3 – Ensure understanding.

  • What did you hear me say?
  • Make sure they heard what you intended to say
  •  Ask them how they plan on approaching and completing this task. This will also help you uncover the gaps in their strategy.
  • Identify constraints and boundaries. Where are the lines of authority, responsibility and accountability?


Step 4 – Agree on a time frame for completion of the task or when you will arrive at the next milestone.

  •  How much time is there available to do the job?
  •  Is there time to redo the job if it’s not done properly the first time?
  •  What are the consequences of not completing the job on time?

Step 5 – Allocate responsibility, delegate authority, provide information and resources.

Here is how I would approach this, yet this is your task to figure out. Avoid “upward delegation.” If there is a problem, don’t allow the person to shift responsibility for the task back to you: ask for recommended solutions, and don’t simply provide an answer.

Step 6 – How will we measure and track the progress?

  •  Agree on a schedule of checkpoints at which you’ll review project progress
  •  Agree on a schedule for checking in with progress updates.
  •  Make sure that the team member knows that you want to know if any problems occur and that you are available for any questions or guidance needed as the work progresses.

Step 7 – Get agreement and let go.

Ensure, crystal clear communication and alignment in thinking, reconfirm what was discussed. That can sound like, “Okay great, so to reconfirm, you will be able to have ______done by ______ date?”

Step 8 – Acceptance.

When delegated work is delivered back to you, set aside enough time to review it thoroughly. If possible, only accept good quality, fully-complete work. If you accept work you are not satisfied with, your team member does not learn to do the job properly. Worse than this, you accept a whole new tranche of work that you will probably need to complete yourself. When good work is returned to you, make sure to both recognize and reward the effort.

Ask. Do you need anything else from me to accomplish this task?

Delegation allows you to make the best use of your time and skills, and it helps other people in the team grow and develop to reach their full potential in the organization.

When you first start to delegate to someone, you may notice that he or she takes longer than you do to complete tasks. This is because you are an expert in the field and the person you have delegated to is still learning. Be patient: if you have chosen the right person to delegate to, and you are delegating correctly, you will find that he or she quickly becomes competent and reliable.