How to Delegate – The Delegation Discussion

how to delegate

So you’ve decided to delegate. You’ve identified; which task(s) to delegate, the most suitable employee to delegate to, and how to work out how much of the task to delegate


The next step in learning how to delegate is about how you talk to the employee about the delegation. Here’s where we need some good preparation because the way you approach the discussion will have a significant impact on how your employee responds to the delegation (and of course delegation is most successful when your employee is enthusiastic and committed to taking over that task and achieving the best results)

Here is a seven step guide to help you have an effective and motivational delegation discussion

How to delegate step one: Introduce the topic

Simply explain that there is a task you want to delegate and that you would like to gain their agreement to taking on the task


How to delegate step two: Describe the task to be delegated

Explain briefly what the task is and explain why the task is important (see more on this in my blog ‘Helping Employees to See the Bigger Picture’)

Detail the scope of the task – what the employee would and would not be responsible for

Explain in detail what the task is and what the performance objective(s) for the task would be


How to delegate step three: Sell the delegation

The easiest delegations to ‘sell’ are those which:


  • Develop the employee’s skills, knowledge etc
  • Relate to the employee’s interests
  • Build upon their current skills and knowledge.


In these instances you need to illustrate the personal benefits of the delegation to the team member, helping them to see the rewards from taking on the task in terms of their development and growth.


More difficult to sell are those which:


  • Are intended to gain more time for you to focus on ‘high value activities’
  • Are intended to fill ‘spare capacity’ i.e. the employee has some spare time
  • Are best fit in job terms i.e. a natural extension of work they already undertake


In these instances consider:


  • Describing the ‘high value activities’ your want to focus on – the reason you need to gain more time by delegating this task. In my blog What is Delegation? I give a range of examples of ‘high value activities’. If you glance at that list you’ll see that the outcomes of many of those activities – gaining new business, building relationships, learning etc – would directly benefit your employees. In short, you are aiming to help your employee to see the benefits of you spending more time on these activities. It might sound like this:


If you can take on this task…  

I can concentrate more on …

And the benefits to you, me and the team will be … 


  • Discussing how you see their job and your view on the spare capacity-give examples


  • Illustrating how you see the delegation fitting into their current job emphasise the practical advantages of them taking over the task


How to delegate step four: Gain agreement

Not actually a separate step-you should be seeking to gain agreement throughout your discussions at step three. This means you need to listen and explore with the team member their views


Remember you have flexibility around the degree of delegation.  As a result of your discussion it may be that you agree to delegate only part of the task rather than the whole task


How to delegate step five: Agree coaching needs

Identify and agree the skills and knowledge needed to successfully complete the task. Assess together the team members current skills and knowledge and identify any gaps


How to delegate step six: Agree the monitoring of the task

Agree how you can best monitor the task and share feedback


Approach this step with caution. Too much monitoring will undermine the team member’s sense of ownership and responsibility. Too little will feel like being dumped on


Involve the team member – have them suggest what to report to you and when (read more on monitoring performance here)


How to delegate step seven: Agree next steps


Conclude by restating the next steps – actions and timescales


How to delegate:Summary

Of course, as a manager, you have the right to delegate tasks. You don’t need to ask permission! However, using a planned approach to the delegation discussion can have a major impact upon your employee’s enthusiasm and commitment to undertaking the task. Really, it’s just about clarity and agreement


Would you like to learn – In just 10 minutes! – some new strategies for how to delegate?


delegationThen why not take a look at my kindle book ‘Learn in Just 10 Minutes…How to Delegate. A step-by-step guide to effective delegation’


‘I would recommend this book to all new managers who want to learn how to delegate and experienced managers who want a quick refresher’ (Nora K)


This book is for managers who want a proven step-by-step guide to effective delegation – and who only have 10 minutes to read it! Check it out on Amazon HERE



3 Responses to How to Delegate – The Delegation Discussion

  1. […] article: How to Delegate – The Delegation Discussion | Managing … /* */ /* */ window.fbAsyncInit = function() { […]

  2. […] – and, consequently, benefit the employee). Read more on ‘selling delegation’ at How to Delegate – The Delegation Discussion […]

  3. […] I’ve written a lot about delegation including; how to get started and how to have the delegation discussion. In this blog I’m going to focus on a sub-set management skill: how to overcome your […]

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