What is Delegation?

delegationWhat is delegation? I’m sure you’ve heard the word ‘delegation’ bandied around the workplace. But have you ever asked (or thought to yourself) ‘what is delegation‘? and ‘why does it matter?’ Here’s a short answer

What is delegation? The short answer!

Delegation (in a people management context) happens when you give one of your staff members a task (or part of a task) to complete which, currently, you undertake

When delegation works successfully three things happen:

  1. You are allowed the time and space to do the most important parts of the job really well. You do the work only you can do
  2. Your staff members take charge of some work which develops their ability and potential
  3. You make the most effective use of the resources available to you

Delegation is a key tool in the effective management of time, people and resources yet managers are often reluctant to delegate. Why? Because;

  • some managers just don’t see the value of delegation
  • some managers see some value but reckon that the costs – in terms of   time needed to delegate – outweigh the benefits

Sound familiar? OK, then let me ask you a question (with thanks to Stephen Covey)

‘What are the activities that you know would get you great results – if only you had time to do them?’

Would your answers be anything like these (from the managers I’ve recently been working with in a London PR firm):

What is Delegation?: Identifying ‘High Value Activities’  

  • Thinking / reflecting / challenging so driving improvements
  • Being proactive – developing contacts so gaining more new business
  • Building better relationships with staff
  • Debriefing so identifying better working practices  / learning
  • Planning
  • Being focussed and forward looking activities so generating more value / revenue
  • Networking so generating more new business
  • Making time for clients – socialising so building stronger relationships
  • More research
  • Sharing knowledge
  • Personal development
  • Life?

This list is what those managers called ‘High Value but Low Time Activities’. They could see that these activities would get them great results but they were struggling to find the time to undertake those activities. When we want to answer the question ‘what is delegation’? we need to understand the ‘why’ of delegation…

Why Delegate – A Simple Principle

Here’s a simple principal. If you want to focus more on the types of activities that will get you great results – high value activities – you’ve just got to find yourself some extra time. A very effective way to gain yourself that time is by delegating some of the work you currently undertake. And, of course, delegation not only gains you time but also (done well) it improves employee performance and satisfaction

Now we have answered ‘what is delegation?’ we can ask – ‘is it now time to delegate?’

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

9 Responses to What is Delegation?

  1. Hayley Lewis says:


  2. […] Do you want to delegate but you’re not sure how to get started?  In my blog ‘What is Delegation?’ I explained that some managers don’t delegate because they don’t see the value. […]

  3. […] So you’ve decided to delegate. You’ve followed the steps in my blog ‘How to Delegate – Getting Started’ and identified; which task(s) to delegate, the most suitable employee to delegate to, and […]

  4. […] How to delegate tip #2. Identify your ‘High Value Activities’ You now have a goal for delegation. But are you clear that the rewards of delegation outweigh the time and effort needed to delegate effectively? A great approach is to identify your ‘High Value Activities’. These are activities that – if only you had time to do them – would get you great results. Identifying these activities helps you, and your employees, see the real value of delegation. Read more, and see examples, in my blog ‘What is Delegation?’ […]

  5. […] with me that a key management skill is learning how to delegate? I’ve written a lot about delegation including; how to get started and how to have the delegation discussion. In this blog I’m […]

  6. […] Clear? One of the most interesting things about learning how to delegate (and why, so often, delegation doesn’t work as well as it should) is that managers forget to tell everyone who is affected […]


    Delegation is the given out one’s resposbility or group’s responsibility to an individual or group of individuals for a legitimate purpose and achieving same goal.

  8. lenkopane says:

    when should a manager delegate?
    .should they delegate if they are overwhelmed
    .delegate as much as possible when he want to?

  9. delegation is the process where manangers allcote some of their duties to their staff but still remain responsible.

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