How to master the art of delegation

They say it’s lonely at the top for a whole lot of reasons – and one reason that is affecting CEO’s and business leaders across Australia is because they fail to delegate effectively.

There are ways that we can all improve our delegation skills and there are good reasons you should do it. Richard Brandon believes that for CEOs it’s imperative to delegate because driving the business towards the big picture vision is their real role. “You need to learn to delegate so that you can focus on the big picture” he said in a 2016 blog post. It also allows employees to feel responsible for a part of the business operations and it doesn’t just take the task off the hands of the CEO but it allows them to test their ideas, potentially leading to better or more variety across revenue streams.

So how can Australian CEO’s delegate effectively within a team while maintaining their managerial respect and becoming just a collaborator? It’s not as difficult as you think.


Get them to buy into the why

It starts with ensuring your team is on board with that big question – why. If something matters to you, you tend to do it right, do it accurately, do it well and with every intention of making it as perfect as possible. If an employee doesn’t understand why it matters, then they aren’t going to approach it with the same care and consideration that you would. When you hand off a task and delegate it to someone else, make sure they understand why it matters. What part of a project can it impact? What kind of ramifications can it have for the success of the business? By ensuring they understand or at least have some visibility of the overall importance of their piece of the puzzle, they will buy in and do it with the care and consideration you would like to see.


Communicate and be open to their interpretation

When you communicate the task to them, be considerate of their perceptions. Everything is interpreted differently from person to person, so be prepared to discuss their views regarding how, what and why something should be done as well as yours. John Ryan, President for the Centre for Creative Leadership wrote in 2009 following Proctor & Gamble CEO, A.G. Leafy’s departure from the organization, that he created more change, more success and a more collaborative high-performance culture because he listened. He listened and respected the opinions of the entire team to transform how the organization worked, why it worked and how it could improve. By listening when you delegate, you might improve the business performance exponentially.


Inspire accountability

It’s important to inspire their commitment and accountability to the task. If they feel like they were chosen for the role, while the narcissistic characters in your team will feel a sense of entitlement, the rest will feel a sense of pride. Explain why you chose them for the task, what your expectations are and any parameters you want to set for the project. As humans, we intrinsically want to belong to something and feeling like we belong to a greater purpose inside our workplace drives us to perform better.


Manage but don’t overcrowd

Check up on the progress and engage in discussions about it as often as you would any other project or job. When you overcrowd someone and constantly seek updates you can create fear and doubt in their mind instead of positivity and confidence. Instilling those emotional approaches to the task is far likelier to encourage them being completed on time to a high standard because if it is seen as a daunting task they don’t enjoy doing, they’ll spend as little time as possible actually doing it.  


So armed with those approaches to delegation, we hope that CEOs can be inspired to delegate more frequently, with more tasks to drive better results and performance for their organization.

If you would like to learn more about leadership and management, please contact the Langano Team.