How to Delegate Effectively as a Manager

written by Dan Silvestre
Productivity, Time Management

how to delegate effectively

In this post, I’ll share my 3-part framework on how to delegate effectively as a manager.

One of the most difficult transitions for managers is to go from doing to leading. You might get away with doing everything yourself in the short term, but you’re heading for burnout.

Soon, you realize that you need to empower your team if you want to scale your impact.

Because here’s the truth:

Delegation is the closest to a superpower you can have as a manager. When you delegate effectively, you reduce your workload while elevating your impact tenfold.

But, delegating effectively is challenging, and few managers excel at it.

And that’s because most managers don’t know how to delegate effectively.

Great managers delegate better than average managers.

And they follow my 3-part framework to delegate effectively. They know what to do before delegation, during delegation, and after delegation.

Here’s what we will cover:

  • How to decide what to delegate and to whom
  • The right way to delegate tasks effectively
  • What to do after delegation so you ensure it’s a success
  • The simple trick to delegate more tasks

Let’s go.

Start by Rethinking Delegation

It’s normal to think of delegation as simply offloading tasks to team members. As a manager, you’re still responsible for the outcome, even though the tasks are performed by others.

This is not the type of delegation you’re interested in. Delegation is not abdication.

The skill you want to build is “strategic delegation”.

What’s the difference?

In strategic delegation, you assign tasks with strategic objectives in mind. You’re looking to empower and develop your team.

Every task you assign a team member is a chance for them to prove their capabilities and grow. And with time, you’ll delegate more and more responsibility to your team.

Strategic delegation is how you turn 1+1 into 3.

Why were you promoted to manager? Because you were a superstar at your job. You did things faster, better, and easier than everyone else. So it’s only normal how hard it is to let go of control. After all, you might still be the best worker on your team.

But now you’re not just one more, you’re the leader.

Your job is not presentations, spreadsheets, or reports anymore. Your role is to elevate the impact of your team.

And to do that, you need to be more essential and less involved.

And with that out of the way, let’s go into the first part of the effective delegation framework.

Part I: Before Delegation

To delegate effectively, start by deciding on two things:

  1. What to delegate
  2. And who you will delegate to

Decide what to delegate

What are the tasks that only you can do?

You can’t delegate your managerial responsibilities, such as performance management tasks. But everything else is an opportunity for delegation.

​To prioritize tasks​, I like to use the $10K framework (more on it in my ​weekly planning​ system):

how to delegate effectively 10k framework

Grab your master task list and insert each task into a quadrant:

  • $10 work. Getting to ​​inbox zero​​, some meetings, or talking to unqualified prospects
  • $100 work. Editing a small report or presentation, drafting a sales agreement, prospect outreach
  • $1.000 work. Switching to a new CRM software, completing the yearly financial report, or preparing a presentation for the board
  • $10K work. Recruiting for a senior position, ​​implementing systems​​ and SOPs, selling to high-value customers

Here’s more on how I use the $10K framework:


Here’s what each quadrant means for strategic delegation:

  • $10 work. These are low-value tasks. Drop them
  • $100 work. The first tasks you should delegate
  • $1.000 work. Where high-level strategic delegation lives. These are the type of activities that develops and empowers your team
  • $10K work. Work only you can (and should) do. Don’t delegate these

I recommend you start by delegating the things you’re good at — your $100 tasks. You already know how to do them and can do them quickly.

These are the tasks you’re most suited to teach others and are least likely to learn something new doing.

Decide who you will delegate to

Play to your team’s strengths.

To delegate effectively, you must choose a team member that:

  1. Has the right skills to do the task
  2. Is passionate about the topic or work you’re delegating

Ideally, you want to have both. But that’s not always the case.

So if you’re looking for stellar work, delegate to who has the most skill.

Are you leaning toward skill development? Delegate to the person who’s most passionate about the topic. They might not have the greatest of skills. But their passion will fuel their development.

For example:

You have a direct report that wants to improve his management skills. So you might want to delegate the complete execution of a project that involves many people. Or supervising an intern.

Remember: delegating effectively is about developing your team.

What if no one in your team fits both criteria?

Then, ask your team directly: who wants to do this? Proactive people always find a way to get things done.

Part II: During Delegation

There are two things you must do to delegate effectively as a manager:

  1. Explain the task clearly
  2. Define the level of delegation

Explain the task clearly

Schedule some face time with your report. Provide clear and concise instructions. What are you trying to achieve?

To delegate effectively, delegate problems, not tasks.

Think of yourself as a coach. Your job is to help others work through their problems and find their solutions.

Don’t talk about how a task needs to be done. Talk about what needs to be achieved.

Strategic delegation requires you to think in terms of outcomes. So share the ideal outcome. And help them understand the benefits. Everyone loves to solve problems.

The final piece of the puzzle is the “why”.

People are motivated by “why”.

So make sure you explain how this task relates to your team’s and organization’s goals. How does it feed into the bigger picture and higher-level goal?

Set a deadline and check-in points. Tie this back to the goal: why is it important to get the task done by your deadline?

Finally, set expectations about the delegation process. Let them know that this is a learning process for both of you.

Assure them you’ll be available at all times and will offer feedback along the way.

Define the level of delegation

how to delegate effectively the 5 levels of deleation

Define the level of delegation​. This sets the expectation for both parties of the delegated task.

Here are the 5 levels in a nutshell:

  1. Do as I say. This is the “execute” level. At this level you give instructions
  2. Research and report back. Delegate the time-consuming research. You’ll only need to decide
  3. Research and make a recommendation. Your team member should be able to recommend what he/she believes to be the best option
  4. Decide and inform. “Make the best decision you can, based on your research, but keep me updated at all times”
  5. Act independently. Total freedom

Part III: After Delegation

Great, you’ve delegated your task to the right person. There’s one last step to make sure the delegation is successful.

It’s what will ensure the delegation is ultimately successful.

Regularly check in with your team member

Follow up with the team member. Make yourself accessible. Do regular check-ins, particularly in the early stages. This helps establish trust between you.

But refrain from micro-managing. Especially when things are not going well.

Don’t take over the task or try to tell them exactly what to do. Remember: you’re a coach. So coach, don’t instruct. Offer guidance and training support.

Assess how they’re progressing:

  • How is the project progressing?
  • Are there any issues or roadblocks?
  • Is anything unclear to you?

During each interaction, provide balanced feedback. Highlight what they are doing well. And discuss areas for improvement or alternative approaches.

Increase your tolerance for imperfection.

You weren’t perfect the first time around, right? But you got better. You learned from mistakes and they made you better.

Approach errors as opportunities for growth rather than just faults. You should aim to solve any problems with them instead of for them.

How to Delegate More Tasks

Over time, you want to delegate more and more tasks. So how can you turn delegation into a system?

Here’s one simple way to do it:

Create a simple spreadsheet and list down all your tasks.

Using the $10K framework, assign each task a dollar value. Anything in the $100 and $1,000 value is a prime candidate for delegation.

Then, list a member of your team you want to delegate the task to. Remember to look for skill and passion.

Now, you can use this spreadsheet to make sure nothing you’ve delegated falls through the cracks. Use it to follow the progress of your delegated tasks.

You can also use it to see how much you’re expanding your impact through others. Review this spreadsheet regularly during your weekly review​.

Each week, try to delegate one more task than the week before. Practice makes perfect.

And that’s how you delegate effectively as a manager.

Tags:: Delegation

Thanks for reading!

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