Strengthening the Delegation muscle : 7 steps to Freedom, Growth, and Leadership

Leadership isn’t just about titles and authority; it’s about creating space for others to grow and shine. Delegation, often seen as a mere task-management tool, is in fact a powerful leadership practice that transcends simple workload distribution. It’s about empowering individuals, nurturing potential, and inspiring the next generation of leaders. By delegating effectively, you give your team:

  • Ownership and autonomy: The chance to take ownership of projects, make decisions, and experience the joy of accomplishment.
  • Growth and development: Opportunities to hone skills, build confidence, and discover hidden talents.
  • Increased engagement and motivation: The feeling of being trusted and valued, leading to a more dedicated and enthusiastic team.

This journey to becoming a “delegating leader” empowers you to move beyond micromanagement and create a ripple effect of growth throughout your organization.

Are you ready to unleash the potential within your team and yourself? Let’s dive into a frameworks i often use with leaders : The 7 steps to mastering delegation and unlocking leadership excellence.

Download the template I created for you here, and follow the step by step instructions. Create a Google document to write down all the answers, and also to capture and share your thoughts and insights.

Take your time : some steps will require you some deep thinking and detailed analysis and that is OK as it is part of the process that will free you. 😉

1. Imagine the possibilities

  • Close your eyes and picture yourself with 4 extra hours each week. What exciting things would you do that you currently neglect? Write down at least 5 possibilities.
  • Great job ! Now ask yourself “And what if I freed myself a whole day each week? what would I do that I am not doing today?” Write down at least 5 possibilities.
  • Be specific and exhaustive.

2. Ignite your Team’s potential:

  • Think beyond tasks! Instead of focusing on specific “jobs,” envision how delegation builds your team. Which skills, knowledge, and attitudes would they grow? Which motivational levers (recognition, growth opportunities, well-being) would be activated?
  • List all the specific benefits they would gain and grow from receiving more options from you. Do that for for each team member. Example : By delegating report writing, a junior analyst could develop writing and data analysis skills, gain exposure to senior management, and feel empowered by taking ownership.

3. Identify opportunities to delegate

Write down all the actions, meetings, duties and decisions that occupy your time and brain space For each item, ask yourself:

  • Ownership: “Am I the only one who can do this?”
  • Responsibility: “Who ultimately answers for the outcome?”
  • Consequence: “How impactful is this decision?”
  • Sensitivity: “Does it require specific timing or context?”

Filter and categorize: Based on your answers, identify tasks that are Delegatable: Owning doesn’t equal doing. Can someone else handle it with proper guidance? High or Low impact: Focus on delegating tasks that free you for truly strategic work.

4. Overcome your delegation “Brakes”

  • Challenge your assumptions: Identify your 3 “favorite” reasons that usually prevent you from delegating (aka your “brakes’). Are they based on facts (“they lack the skills”) or fear (“they might mess up”)?
  • Replace fear with rules: For all identified brakes then set yourself 1 or 2 rules of personal conduct to overcome them. For example, “I will provide clear instructions and trust their ability to learn.”

5. Partner for Success

Finally, individually or collectively brief the people with whom you now want to review the levels of delegation. To do this you can choose from diffrent approaches

  • Individual briefings: Explain the “rules of the game” for delegation. Define clear expectations and boundaries (e.g., “handle these clients directly, but keep me informed”, or “You will host these meetings for me, and for us to feel more confortable for the first 3 times I want you to send me the information for these 5 sections in advance: …” .
  • Or organise a Delegation Poker workshop with the team : to identify delegatable tasks, to clarify who’s responsible for what and to what level, and agree on decision-making levels.

Remember that Delegation is a spectrum, not a switch. So forget about the rigid dichotomy of micromanagement versus complete autonomy. Delegation is about offering a nuanced approach to empowering your team.

  • It’s a journey, not a destination. Think of it as gradually handing over accountability in a controlled and progressive manner. This allows both you and your team to adapt and adjust as needed.
  • The context matters. While aiming to delegate as much as possible is admirable, remember that unmanaged delegation can lead to chaos. Consider factors like individual capabilities, project complexity, and organizational structure when deciding what to delegate.
  • Embrace the “shades of gray.” Instead of feeling confined to “all or nothing,” recognize that delegation allows for diverse levels of involvement. You can delegate decision-making authority, task execution, or even just information sharing.
  • And also it is OK for your team to push back if they don’t feel safe enough

By understanding this dynamic and approaching delegation with flexibility and intention, you can unlock its true potential: a team that is empowered, engaged, and thriving.

6. Make it Visible, Make it Stick !

  • Communicate openly: Share your delegation plan – not only with your team but also with all your key stakeholders. Explain the rationale and expected benefits.
  • Document agreements: Record key points from individual briefings or delegation poker results for clarity and reference.

7. Cultivate a Culture of Feedback and Growth 🥰

  • Regular check-ins: Schedule debriefing sessions to assess progress, provide feedback (positive and constructive), and address any concerns.
  • Celebrate success: Acknowledge and reward successful delegation instances, both for you and your team and savor the sweet taste of freedom and enjoy the benefits. As delegation frees up your time, embrace the opportunities you envisioned in step 1. Use this newfound freedom to engage in leadership activities and strategic thinking.

You’re welcome 😘 You got this!

Bonus => Books for Deep Dives:

Remember, delegation is a journey, not a destination. Embrace continuous learning, refinement, and celebrate the growth it brings to both you and your team. Now go forth and delegate!