Get the Job Done Right with the Right Employee for the Job

When it comes to delegating work, one of the secrets to success is who you choose to delegate to. Delegating to the wrong person is like trying to teach your cat to swim.

The magical thing about people is that we are all different. We have different skills, abilities and interests. What is impossible for some is easy for others. What is mind numbingly dull for some is an interesting challenge for others. Finding someone with the skills and desire to do the difficult job that you don't want to do is like finding free money. Weaker managers complain that their employees aren't like them, great managers know how to find strength in diversity.

On the negative side, some of your employees just plain lack the skills, time or interest to do a good job and should be avoided.

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Matching Tasks to Employees

The following will help you match tasks to employees. Start with the tasks that you have identified in the "How to Identify What to Delegate" section and then work through these criteria to see what employees best match the responsibility.

Four ways to Choose Who to Delegate to

There’s more than one way to make your choice, have a look at these four suggestions and use the best combination that works for you. They are:

  1. Delegate Based on Your Employee

  2. Delegate to Achieve Your Management Objectives

  3. Delegate as a Test

  4. Socialise your Problems

1. Delegate Based on Your Employee

One way of choosing which employee to delegate to, is by looking at the employee’s capabilities and desires:

  • What are their interests and abilities?
  • What are their strengths and unique talents?
  • Has one of your directs perhaps expressed an interest in assisting with this task or project?
  • Which of your directs has indicated a desire to grow and develop their role within the team/ department/ organization?

Note: We all know that some people suit some jobs more than others. But what is it that makes people different and how do you identify what people are naturally suited to a job and what people aren't?

  • This is one of the reasons for One on One meetings with employees because this is where you get to know what your employees strengths, weaknesses, tendencies and desires are.

  • You can use behaviour models to discover how to be a better boss with the different personality types on your team. This is also a manager skill I call "Using DISC to Manage Diversity" and you can read about this powerful tool over here:

Tip: Improve your delegation manager skills. Is your delegation working for you? Take the Work Delegation Checkup to find out.

2. Delegate to Achieve Your Management Objectives

But it's not just about what your employee wants because you can also use delegation as a tool to improve performance. Another way of choosing employees is to think about what you are trying to achieve. Consider the following:

  • Higher performers: Your better employees will produce better results. In general if you're trying to get something important done fast with the minimum fuss, then pick the higher performers
  • Have you got employees who need to be more productive: Giving extra work is a way to increase productivity or use up slack time.
  • Underperforming Employees: Employees not doing well in their jobs are a sign that they are not doing work that they are suited to. Delegation is a method to motivate them plus find alternative work that they are good at.
  • Employees with "Attitude" Problems: Employees who don't fit in and respond negatively to authority can sometimes be turned around by giving them an important responsibility. When someone complains how something is being done, give them a chance to fix it themselves. Either they will find you a better solution, or come to a better understanding about why things are they way they are. Often "attitude" problems are an indication of an employee in a mismatched role - helping them to find work that is meaningful to them will help them feel like they are in the right job.

Secret Ninja Manager Tricks for the Best Delegation Results

Here are two hacks you can use to quickly get delegation results and figure out who the best person to delegate to is:

1. Delegate as a Test

Delegate the Same Task to More Than One Person at the Same Time:

  • This is like having a live job interview to figure out who is best person for the job. This minimises the chance of something going wrong because you will get more than one result. And it's a great way to engage the creativity of your team because everyone does things differently and has different strengths

2. Socialise your Problems

"Socialise" your problem by talking about it in your One on One Meetings:

  • When I have a problem that I don't know how to immediately solve, I find that it's best to talk to people about the problem and what I'm trying to do. It's good practice to share what you are trying to achieve with your employees because this helps to align your employees to solve the same problems that you want solved. And your employees are close enough to the business to know something about the problem but still different enough to provide a different perspective. When you do this you will also get a better information about your employees: Are they interested in the problem? Do they have skills that you don't know about? And it's not unheard of your employees volunteering to help.

Next Steps - Improve Your Delegation Skills With Delegation Training

Delegation is an essential manager skill. The role of the manager isn’t to be a superhero and do everything yourself. Being a better boss means improving your manager skills. Start with improving your own delegation skills with delegation training. Delegation Essentials is a free, online management training course.

Tip: Doing the course will enable you to get a certificate for your resume.


Do you have any comments, questions or tips about choosing who to delegate to? Please share in the comments below.