How to identify what to delegate

What does your to do list look like at the end of the day? Has it got shorter or longer? Being a boss is a tough job because you’re responsible for the results of your whole team. Sometimes it feels like you’re fighting against the tide because you’re getting work from your own boss. While you’re making sure that everything your employees do is up to your standard. Are you neglecting your own important priorities because of all of these distractions? Effective managers don’t do everything themselves. Effective managers focus on priorities and delegate work that they should not be doing to their employees. This article will help you identify the work that you should not be doing so you can start work delegation to turn the tide around.

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Effective managers delegate to their employees frequently. Effective managers know how to use delegation as a management tool “to get stuff done”. That’s why delegation is an essential manager skill. But the problem is they don’t teach you how to delegate in school. Effective delegation techniques will make you a better boss so you can advance your career and earnings. Following a good delegation process means starting with identifying what to delegate:

How to Identify What to Delegate:

#1 What tasks can someone else do better than you?

Did you get to be a boss because you were good at what you did? Now it doesn’t matter how smart or hardworking you are, the truth is you’re not the expert at everything and you don’t have the time to “do everything right” Effective managers know how to use their employees, skills and abilities to do a better job then they could do themselves.

#2 What tasks do you dislike doing that a staff member would prefer doing?

While being a boss is hard, you do get some privileges. One of which is you have the ability to delegate work you don’t like so you can shape your job to be more enjoyable. But this isn’t just about abusing your power because the beautiful thing about diversity is that a task that you hate can be done better by someone else.

Personally I don’t like doing sales and that means I neglect it and I’m not very good at it. That means someone else should do it.

#3 What tasks consume a lot of your time?

All tasks are not created equal - some just seem to suck up hours of your day. Every hour a low priority task takes away from your key deliverables means you’re going to be functioning less effectively as a manager.  

On the positive side, you’re the boss which means you have employees to help you to get your work done. Free up a lot of time in one go by delegating time consuming tasks

#4 What tasks have to be done but aren’t on your key deliverables?

Are you spending enough time on your key deliverables? Or are urgent, low priority tasks getting in the way? The key to success in life and business is to focus on the right things. The most important things for you to focus on are your key deliverables. These are the things that you can make the biggest impact on.

Don’t fall into the trap of holding onto work because you like it. Start with what’s most important and give the rest to your employees.

Helpful Resource: Now if you’re like many managers who get to the end of a busy day wondering where your time went then start off by working out where your time went by using an activity log delegation worksheet.

#5 What tasks can contribute to the development of your employees or relate to their job descriptions?

This is one of my favourite things to delegate because by moving work around you can create value. Giving challenging assignments to your employees isn’t just a way to get stuff done. It’s also a way to grow your employees skills and capabilities. You’ll end up with a better team, ready to take on extra challenges.

Effective managers know that employees get job satisfaction when they learn and grow.

#6 What can your staff do at a lower cost than you?

When you get your management badge, you should also get some extra in your pay packet. But the way you earn a higher salary is by being efficient with money. Put another way, hoping to walk home with a large pay packet is unrealistic if you fill your days with low added value tasks. Being efficient with company resources doesn’t always mean doing everything yourself. Being efficient with company resources means getting the job done at the lowest cost.

#7 What other routine tasks can be codified?

Codifying work is a discipline that makes you better at your job. Because when you have to package work up into documented processes, it forces you to re-examine what you do on a higher level.

Start with the low hanging fruit by documenting the work you do that lends itself to easy codifying.

Secret Ninja Manager Tip: Don’t document your work yourself, request that your employee codify your work as part of the delegation process. The easiest way to do this is to get them to shadow you while you do the task.

Delegation of Work: Next Steps:

Effective delegation is a manager skill. Effective managers use successful delegation to manage tasks. The role of the manager isn’t to be a superhero and do everything yourself. Being a better boss means improving your manager skills. Improve your manager skills and you’ll have more work success and happiness. Start with free, online delegation training.

PS Want a content upgrade for this page? Download the worksheet, How to identify what to delegate.


Do you have any questions, comments or tips about effective delegation in management? Please help the rest of us out by sharing in the comments below.