Leading in the Digital Age: Delegation


If you had to unexpectedly take a week off work, would your key initiatives advance in your absence?

If you didn’t answer with an immediate, resounding “yes,” keep reading.

No leader (including you) can do it all themselves. To deliver better results in today’s world of work, you must extend your presence through the action of others. How can you become more essential, effective and impactful?

Delegate appropriately.

The rules for leading in the digital age are changing. In this series of posts, we’re sharing tips for mastering leadership’s new fundamentals. Today’s post shares strategies and tactics to help you delegate effectively – and lead more successfully in the modern workplace.

Tips for Effective Delegation

Leaders frequently have trouble delegating because they find themselves unable to relinquish control of their own work. If you struggle to “let go of the reins,” try these tips:

Explain your “why.”

Delegation yields multiple benefits for you, your team and your company:

  • Engagement improves because your team does work that matters.
  • Productivity increases because tasks are given to those best suited to perform them efficiently.
  • Skills improve because you and your team can work on what you most need to know.

Articulating the reasons you’re delegating and the potential benefits will increase employee buy-in, inspire commitment and set the stage for effective partnering.

Choose the right people.

Who on your team has – or can develop – the right skills needed? Who has capacity and has shown interest in taking on new challenges? Who would view the opportunity as a reward? Identify individuals who will rise to the occasion and explain why you chose them as delegees.

Start small.

If allowing someone else to do your work is hard for you, start by delegating small tasks. Pick initiatives in which the “how” doesn’t matter, as long as the desired outcome is achieved. As your team adapts to the new tasks, work your way up by delegating larger and larger responsibilities.

Focus on priorities.

High-effort, low-skill tasks are especially ripe for delegation. To identify what you should do yourself and what you should delegate, prioritize tasks into three tiers:

  • The highest skilled tasks stay on your own plate.
  • The second highest go to skilled senior team members.
  • The lowest skilled go to less-experienced team members.

Create a sound process for success.

  • Describe the desired results – including your expectations about the outcome and clear criteria for measuring success.
  • Establish checkpoints and milestones for gauging success and course-correcting when necessary.
  • Make sure your delegees have the training, resources and freedom to accomplish what you’ve delegated.
  • Be ready to tolerate mistakes and treat them as learning opportunities.

Give and get feedback.

Once you delegate, walk away – but not before letting your staff know how they can reach you for questions.

When the task is completed, review it. Provide any feedback you think staff need to improve their work and ask them for their perspective. The information will help you delegate and will encourage your staff work more effectively on the next task.

What other skills do you need to be a successful leader in the digital age?

Keep an eye on our blog. In future posts, we will share more modern leadership tips to improve your effectiveness in today’s workplace.

Other posts in this series:

Trustworthiness: The Key to Leading in Today’s World of Work

Empathy: A Powerful Tool in Today’s Workforce

Relationship Building: Leading in the Digital Age

Still trying to do it all yourself?

If you want to make delegation a habit, but don’t have the internal resources, give your local PrideStaff office a call. We’ll help you get non-critical activities off your plate – and dramatically improve your personal and organizational performance.