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What Do I Delegate and What Do I Keep?

delegation Sep 01, 2021

In this blog series, I have been sharing a story early in my career about how I learned to delegate through the eye-opening process of making rookie mistakes. I was unclear on what the employee needed, in fact, I hadn’t even thought to ask. Sadly, it ended in her resignation. I needed to make some changes and started making adjustments right away as I interviewed replacement candidates. 

In deciding what changes to make I had already reflected on what energized me and what did not. The big shift, however, was asking questions as I interviewed candidates about what kind of work energized them. Asking myself these questions as well as asking the next candidate helped set me up for an onboarding conversation that could lead to a better way to delegate, which involves building a delegation partnership. 

Delegation is not a one-way street. To be effective and achieve the greatest potential we need to talk about it, together. In this dialogue we can create a partnership that will evolve as the needs of the team and organization unfold. 


Questions you can ask to sort out what is yours to do:

  1. What am I uniquely gifted/experienced to do?
  2. What requires the resources and authority that I am responsible for?
  3. What do I need to be involved in that helps me stay connected to clients, customers, staff, etc. so that I continue to have a pulse on the team/organization?

Now, let’s turn to your team . . . what might be theirs to do? Your goal is to KEEP yourself engaged and KEEP them engaged. Think of it with this acronym:

For yourself. And for your team. 


Set up a time to meet with a team member for a delegation conversation that will KEEP them engaged and productive. Try out this framework that’s like a funnel. 

  1. Start by expanding the conversation so that you can uncover what really encourages engagement and productivity for THEM
  2. Then, sort through the possibilities to find out what they prioritize, what limitations they or what observations you have on how they work. It’s an interchange of ideas and observations that helps you sort together what would be the best options to experiment with delegating.
  3. Then, close the conversation. A decision might be to just have a follow up conversation, or you might have a clear option to consider and you can close it out by talking about the details of how delegation will happen and what they need from you. We will talk more about how to do this in the next blog.

Use this “funnel” example questions to get the conversation started: 

Next Steps:

  1. Spend some time answering the REFLECT ON THIS questions noted above for what energizes and encourages your productivity. Talk with a colleague or a mentor to build on what you notice for yourself. 
  2. Set up a time to meet with someone who you might be able to delegate to and engage the EXPAND/SORT/CLOSE funnel conversation with some starter questions in the graphic above.
  3. Notice where there is overlap on what encourages and energizes your productivity and what encourages and energizes their productivity. Target those things for delegation!

Tune into future blogs where we will get practical on who to delegate, how to develop others through delegation, how to delegate the specific responsibilities, and those things which have the potential to derail successful delegation. Need a strategy a little sooner? Set up a FREE 30 minute strategy session and we can design your delegation conversation together.


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