Delegating is a skill every leader should master

give permission and obligation

Have you ever delegated a task to an employee and then felt the need to step in and take over to ensure they did it correctly?

Do you ever have the idea that you told someone to tackle a job, but you can’t remember who?

Are you so busy putting out fires that you can’t focus on the larger goals of your business?

There never seems to be enough time.

Think about your day as an hourglass and your jobs as the sand.

There is only so much sand that can pass through it in one day. In like manner,

There is a limited amount of work you can get done in any one day.

No matter how hard or fast you work, you can’t do it all. No one can. You owe it to yourself and your operation to focus solely on the tasks that only you, as the leader, can do. Only the tasks you SHOULD do.

Then, delegate the rest.

Delegating well is a skill every leader should master.  The more you do it, the easier it becomes.



  • Create a list of all jobs you want to remove from your “hourglass.”
  • Delegate these to the right person. Not every employee is capable so chose carefully.
  • Communicate the outcome you want. For example, what does a good job look like?
  • Set a due date for when you want the project completed.
  • Determine what decisions the employee should be making. Let them know you expect them to make these decisions on their own. Of course, you need to be involved in some decisions.  But if you don’t need to be involved, then don’t waste your time on them.
  • Be available for coaching. You don’t want the employee to feel like they are in a sink or swim mode. Make sure to let them know you are available for questions, but resist the urge (strong though it may be) to jump in and micromanage. When they come with questions, a good idea is to ask them, “What do you think you should do?” If it sounds reasonable, let them run with it. Of course, they will make some mistakes, but good employees will not make mistakes more than once.

Want more ideas like this?

Wondering how other managers do it?

Our Peer Group might be just what you're looking for.