What Delegation Is

It’s time to delegate work.

Accept that not everything in your business can be run, managed, and executed by a single person. Whether you hire employees, outsource everything to agencies, or do a bit of both: delegation is a requirement.

But wait: delegation is not about creating a list of tasks and handing that list to somebody else. Not at all.

Delegation, done properly, is a little bit of upfront work for a whole lot of ongoing benefit.


The first step is to realize that you don’t want to do it all.

This is more important than deciding that you don’t have to do it all.

Once you are happy not doing it all, it will be much easier to accept. The difficulty in delegation is, of course, letting go of total control. This includes accepting that the next person may do things differently that how you did them.

Once you acknowledge that you don’t want to spend your time doing that thing, it will be easier to let go of control.

Delegation then comes in two main parts.

What to delegate

Wrong way: create a list of tasks that have to get done in your business and then select 30% of those to give on to the next person.

Right way: decide what role you want to play in your business.

Will you be client facing, operational, generating business, serving clients, making all management decisions, training people, and so on and so forth? How do you want your day to to day to be spent at the office?

Consider two things:

  1. What you enjoy doing
  2. What has brought good results in the past

Calculating both the time you put into it and the return on that time. And do try to be critical.

Once you have determined the role that you want to play in your business, delegate all the other roles.

What does success look like

Delegation is about explaining outcomes, not tasks.

Know what success for each role looks like, to the point that you can clearly describe it. When you come to delegate that role, explain what you expect to happen and why. Explain the desired outcome of the role.

This includes two things:

  1. The expect results: what does this role contribute to the business and how is it measured (the outcomes)
  2. The guiding principles: what are the standards of behavior and values that must be adhered to

Then leave the person free to achieve your desired results, working within your guiding principles, in whatever way she prefers.

You are not delegating a task: you are delegating responsibility.


  1. Ryan Williams on September 3, 2019 at 9:31 am

    This has been a big struggle for me over the years. But for the past two years, delegation and training staff to take over responsibilities has been my primary activity beyond business development. It definitely makes a big difference. I’m no less busy, but my focus is more narrow and deep – thus, more effective – rather than broad and shallow.

    • Rebecca on September 3, 2019 at 1:48 pm

      “I’m no less busy, but my focus is more narrow and deep” … your have increased your capacity. You are as busy as you were before, but overall much more productive. A sign of effective delegation.
      Taking over “responsibilities” rather tasks is the point. I’m glad to hear it’s working well for you.