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There’s No Teamwork Without Delegation

Best practice of the week: Delegation

Definition of delegation: “Entrusting a goal, project or tasks to someone else.”

Remote work had grown by 44% in the five years before the pandemic.  Although all the practices of effective collaboration still apply, a premium is now put on clear and concise communications of goals and constraints—and meaningful and consistent encouragement.  Your value as a manager is directly proportional to your ability to delegate. 

Practice Summary

Keys to effective collaboration

  • Develop relationships
  • Specify tasks and their completion criteria
  • Assign the right task to the right person, including alignment with their own goals
  • Explain the task explicitly
  • Set milestones and deadlines
  • Use collaboration technology
  • Have update meetings
  • Be available as a mentor


  • Granting freedom vs. staying involved
  • Immediate training and supervision time vs. long-term time savings from ability to delegate
  • Need for execution vs. providing a growth opportunity

Common misconceptions that prevent delegation

  • Nobody else can handle the task – because they haven’t been given the chance; chicken-and-egg
  • Training takes too long – think of the long-run tradeoff
  • Don’t like their approach – you may learn something
  • Failure would be attributed to me - then team hasn’t been properly trained

Key Metrics

  • Time used for training
  • Time supervising delegation
  • Time team spends performing task

Click the image below for the resources approved by our Review Board.

3 Good Questions (discuss in a management meeting)

  1. Why haven't I delegated this task before?
  2. Why haven't I delegated to this person before?
  3. What could go wrong and what could go right

Delegation can be a powerful motivating factor. By entrusting an employee with a responsibility, their job will be more aligned with the organization’s mission and should instill a degree of passion, also preventing disenchantment and burnout.

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The Center for Management Terms & Practices is the standards body for general management. CEOs can delegate with confidence if managers in every department use the same best practices, language and tools. See The GMs Index and The GMs Toolkit.

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