You Need to Delegate

‘Delegate’ is a scary word for many.  Individuals often have an innate need to control that which they have a responsibility over.  After all, who can manage x, y, and z as great as you yourself?  Other individuals refuse to delegate out of a belief that they themselves will become replaceable if others can complete their tasks for them, making delegation a one-way trip to being unemployed.  The truth, however, is that the best leaders know the importance of delegating, and not merely on menial tasks but on the key business points as well.  As leadership guru Darren Hardy points out in his work The Entrepreneur Rollercoaster, leaders let others lead.  As just one example, Henry Ford is known for surrounding himself and staffing his leadership staff with individuals far more capable than himself, and this action was key in Ford’s success.

Successful delegation does have requirements, including:

  • Clear expectations: whatever you are delegating, make sure the other person understands what is expected of them.
  • Clear communication: both you and the individual being delegated to need to have open communication available to discuss the assignment and its progress.
  • Proper assignment: Different individuals have different strengths.  Make sure that the individuals you are delegating to have the best skillsets required to perform those functions.
  • Explain ‘why’: No one wants to be told to do something without understanding why they are doing it.  Explaining why their task is important will help them stay focused and motivated on the assignment.
  • Sharing the credit:  There is no ‘I’ in team, and attempting to take the credit for the work of others is a sure way to destroy a person’s desire to work with both you and the organization.

In case you missed it, PEAK recently held its fifth annual PEAK Event, and this is just one case study in the importance of delegating.  No one PEAK member could have pulled off such a successful event.  But by working together and delegating properly, each team member was able to work on assignments for the event based upon their given strengths, ensuring that all aspects of the event succeeded. Looking to the above requirements: each team member understood what was expected of them, proper communication was maintained, assignments were given based upon strengths, everyone understood the ‘why’, and in the end the entire team was able to share in the ‘win’.

Here are a few additional things to keep in mind when it comes to delegation:

  • From John Addison, success coach: Successful delegation can be tricky.  You want to give your team members the freedom to do their jobs without hovering, but you also can’t give them a map and simply “wave goodbye from the corner office.”  Find the balance which ensures that you desired outcomes are properly relayed.
  • From Top Agent Magazine: Delegating builds collective confidence.  “By giving employees the chance to flex their skills and control their own small slice of the pie, you’ll be fostering a sense of responsibility and growth on your talent roster.”
  • From Forbes Magazine: “Delegating may take more effort up front, but in the long term it will save you time and allow you to focus on the bigger, more important aspects of your work.”
  • From Success Magazine: “People love to be challenged, especially when they feel appreciated and valued.”
  • From John Maxwell: A lack of delegation means that you have misplaced priorities.  Every second that you are micromanaging is a second that you can’t focus on selling your organization’s mission, vision, and products.

This week, spend some time thinking about the many different tasks you preform for your business, job, and other extracurricular involvements.  To repeat Darren Hardy, “If your business (or any other multi-individual project) can’t run with you, then you’re doing it wrong.”  Successful delegation will improve the performance of your organization, increase team morale, and free up your own time to focus on what really matters.



Jeremiah Clark, M.A., is a healthcare IT consultant with six Epic Systems certifications.  He is also the co-owner of Appalachian Digital, a website development agency.  You can contact Jeremiah at or connect with him on LinkedIn at Jeremiah Clark.