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How can leaders effectively delegate tasks?

By identifying how to delegate effectively, leaders can help prevent burnout on their team and build morale that allows for better workplace culture.

Proper delegation is vital for teams to succeed. Delegating tasks allows leaders to stay focused on their top priorities, and also gives the opportunity to team members to create better practices for completing their work. With a clear plan for how things should get done, teams should be able to handle the projects handed off to them with excellence.

1. Start with setting expectations

When a leader tries to persuade others without sharing their reasons and clear explanations beforehand, they will leave team members confused and open to coming to their conclusions about what they are asked to do and why. Leaders, therefore, risk misalignment upfront, especially during initial conversations.

A leader needs to be confident that their team will follow through on their ask and to do so, it’s essential to provide context about what’s at stake and how each team member’s responsibilities fit into the project outcome. Giving employees business justification increases their relevance and interest, making them more likely to be motivated to deliver their work at a high standard.

2. Understand each team member’s strengths

Effective delegation has two elements: delegating work to team members who have skills in that area and giving team members opportunities to develop new skills. Often, this means finding ways to adjust schedules or advance employees’ careers. In other cases, it might be just helping with the basics of getting their job done.

It is important to ask each team member about the skills they currently have that they want to develop further, as well as what skills they don’t currently have, but would like to gain or improve. This enables leaders to understand each team member better and to plan for the next steps in developing their skills.

3. Communicate and offer feedback

Delegating work allows leaders to give employees ownership of their tasks and creates an opportunity for two-way feedback and communication. It is important to develop a process for leaders and their team members to contact each other with any questions and set up regular check-ins to review the project together.

Delegation is a long-term skill that you can build over time. As one becomes more comfortable delegating, they should consider soliciting feedback from the person they’re delegating tasks to, so they can identify areas where they need more guidance or skills. Did they have enough information from you to do the job? Were there any open questions that would have made getting the work done easier? Were any of the steps unclear?

4. Trust and praise good results

When leaders delegate tasks to their team, they should try and take a step back and give their employees the space they need to complete the work, with regular check-ins, while also being hands-off enough to show them that they are trusted.

Conversely, when leaders delegate the work to employees, another critical step is to implement a review cycle or follow-up period to review the work that was done and tweak it in the right direction if necessary. When the work is completed, leaders should try to ensure the team member who completed the work is credited for successfully finishing it.

At Acumen, we pride ourselves in offering training and development that gives managers practical tools to help solve real-life challenges. We offer an extensive menu of courses, workshops, and coaching programmes, ranging from communication skills to executive leadership development. In most cases, we design the interventions specifically for each client, but we also offer a wide range of off-the-shelf programmes for those who prefer this approach. For more information about our programmes please contact Simon at


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