Nonprofit Network Blog

10 Steps to Guarantee Successful Delegation

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 10:57 AM | Tom Williams (Administrator)

Tom Williams

Capacity Builder

The success of delegation rises and falls on the quality of how the task is delegated by you. Do it well, and you'll reap the harvest of a stronger team, increased organizational production and some extra hours for you. On the other hand, poorly-executed delegation can reduce organizational output, weaken the team and be a real time drag for everyone.  So how can you guarantee the success of delegation

Here are 10 simple steps to get you there.

10 Steps to Guarantee Successful Delegation

1.   Define the task

2.   Select the appropriate person

3.   Explain the reasons for delegation

4.   Assess person’s ability and training needs

5.   State required results

6.   Consider the resources required 

7.   Outline boundaries and authority

8.   Agree on deadlines

9.   Support and communicate.

10. Provide feedback on results


If you avoid delegating due to the aggravation from past results, try again following these steps. The more self-aware you are and the more you practice delegating, the better you will become. Like many other leadership skills, it is a front-loaded activity, and the rewards increase as your proficiency improves and as the task-takers become better at receiving the delegated tasks.

If you choose to skip a step, understand it may impact outcomes. Over time and as relationships deepen, you and the new task owner may be able to have clarity on these items without explicitly covering each one. But if the relationship is not yet that deep, or if past experience has not been satisfactory, I suggest you include each element.

Successful delegation requires that you and your delegate have the same understanding of the end result that is being sought, but we tarnish good delegation when we attempt to tell the person how to do it. Further, if they are uncertain about the authority they have over the process, their performance can suffer. Empowering others on your team (think: other board members, other staff members) is accomplished by sharing expectations, clarifying needed results and extending trust. 

Nothing strengthens a team member like extending trust to them.

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