10 Tips for Effective Delegation

08 Sep

We may think that it’s easier to do things ourselves or that we can do it better and faster than someone else.  And that may be true enough, but, there are several compelling reasons why you should invest in making an effort to learning to implement an effective delegation strategy into your personal and business life.

One good reason, in a word, is leverage. You only have so many hours in a day. Choosing what you spend your available time on and delegating the rest is critical to your success, happiness, joy, and fulfillment.  When you try to do everything yourself , it steals your focus away from your core business tasks and other priorities, and leaves you less time to be doing the things that only you should be focused on doing, like working with clients to increase your income, networking to build business relationships, strategic planning  to create new products and services, or taking some time away from your business to spend quality time with friends and family.

If you want to be able to spend more time on doing the things in your business that you enjoy, are skilled at, and only you can do in your business, and less time on the things that you don’t particularly enjoy, or that bog you down and overwhelm you, then implementing an effective delegation strategy is the best solution.

Here are 10 tips on how to delegate effectively:

  1. Make a list of the tasks you want to delegate.
  2. Ask yourself these questions:  What do I enjoy doing?  What do I dislike doing? What am I skilled at doing?  What am I not skilled at doing, but know I need to do it.  What have I been putting off because I can’t get to it?   What would I like to be doing more of if  I only had the time to do it ?  What could I be doing more of if I had more time to do it? What am I in business to do?
  3. Define the intended outcome.  What do you want to be doing more of/less of as a result of implementing this process?
  4. Make a plan for the delegation process.  When, to what level or degree, and how often will you delegate?
  5. Determine what instructions will be necessary to ensure the best results.
  6. Clearly and precisely outline the nature and objective of each task you delegate.  Don’t assume that the person you are delegating to knows what you know or can “read your mind” as to what your intended outcome or objective is for completing the task.  Communicate! Specify the conditions for satisfactory performance at the outset.
  7. Determine and set a reasonable deadline. This will keep you and your assistant on task, focused, and soon you will develop a steady momentum to maximize productivity and get things done.
  8. Understand that delegation doesn’t free you from responsibility.   You’re still the Captain of your ship…don’t abandon it or be a “dumper”.  Invest in the process and stay involved in the delegation process to some degree.
  9. Assign tasks by requesting rather than ordering.  Give as much notice as possible. Unforeseen delays can happen, mistakes are often made in a heated rush, and quality of work suffers when everyone is scrambling to meet a last minute deadline.
  10. Determine how and when you should follow up; set checkpoints and request status updates from your assistant.

Levels of Action

When delegating tasks, determine what level of action you want taken and be sure to communicate this to your assistant so she is clear on what you want her to do.  Here are some examples:

  1. Please research this issue.  Send me all the facts, and I will decide what to do and let you know if I need further support.
  2. Let me know the pros and cons, what my available options are, and I will make my decision as to which option I want to select.
  3. Recommend a course of action for my approval.
  4. Let me know how you intend to handle this or what action you plan to take on this.  Delay action until I approve.
  5. Handle or take action. Let me know what you did or provide me with a summary on the results or outcome.
  6. Communicate with me only if you have questions, run into issues, or if your action is unsuccessful and needs further discussion.

Once you learn how to delegate effectively, and build a level of trust with the person or organization you have chosen to work with, you will surely feel so much better, more productive, less overwhelmed, and a sense of freedom and accomplishment as a result.


I hope you enjoyed reading this post!

My intention is to publish and share business ideas, tips, best practices, “food for thought”, recommended resources, and other information for your consideration as you move forward in your journey of business ownership.  I will be selecting  blog topics based on my experience in working as an accomplished administrative professional for top level managers and C-level executives, and as a small business owner myself operating in a virtual home-based environment supporting other business owners, entrepreneurs, solo professionals and other busy individuals who also work in  virtual, home-based, mobile, or small office environments.

I invite you to comment on posts that you can identify with, or simply to let me know if what I’ve shared is helpful or useful to you.  I would also welcome your suggestions or ideas for future topics that you would like to see posted here.  I look forward to blogging and connecting with you!  Stay tuned!


Author bio: Lisa Salem is a professional Virtual Executive Assistant and General Transcriptionist.  Lisa is the Founder and Managing Member of Monarch Virtual Assistance LLC,  and brings over 25 years of administrative and business management experience to her business and the clients she partners with. Lisa works to promote the Virtual Assistance industry and to make it stand out as a true profession of excellence. Lisa loves helping her clients build successful businesses by taking the administrative tasks off their “to do” list so they can have more time to focus on the core business priorities that will generate income and accelerate business growth. Her style is easy going, yet focused, with emphasis placed on going the extra mile to exceed clients expectations by providing quality service, excellent value, and total satisfaction to ensure long-term dedication, loyalty, and results.

©2011.  Would you like to republish this article? You are free to do so as long as you include a link back to the full post, attributing the author, Lisa Salem of Monarch Virtual Assistance LLC.


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