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The Power of Delegation

To do or not to do, that is the question... of delegation.

“Hire people who are better than you, and leave them to get on with it… Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine.” - David Ogilvy

The quotation above, from David Ogilvy, widely acknowledged as the father of modern advertising, calls for the need to delegate, without actually saying to delegate. He talks about the need to have people in a job, who are better at that job than you. This allows you to shine in your role. This is true in all areas of business, and if you are the owner or an entrepreneur, you have got some very strong skills, but you are not skilled in all areas of business. You will need to choose people who are better equipped at doing those areas of business you are weaker in.

Are you the managers who needs to feed your ego, or are you the person who is confident in your own ability and can recognize what you are not strong in as much as recognizing what you are strong in?

A good manager, needs to take a leaf out of David Ogilvy’s book and be a good delegator. You, as the manager, need to be the type of person who is secure in your own abilities and have great confidence in your team to get the job done, successfully.

“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.” - John C. Maxwell

Are you that type of manager?

If you aren’t that type of manager, but would like to be, then here are nine simple rules to help you become a better delegator and ultimately become a better manager.

Nine tips to help you delegate

Define the task

Ask yourself these questions:

What is the task?

Can the task be delegated?

What are the specifics of the task?

The answers to these questions enable you to convey accurately the task. You define exactly what the task is by answering the first question, then you answer yes or no to the second. If the answer is no, it becomes your job! The answer to the final question puts the flesh on the bones of the task and gives structure to what exactly is being delegated.

The more information you are able to pass on to the chosen individual or team, the higher the likelihood of success.

Remember that the opposite is also true, less information and guidance can lead to failure, a failure on your part.

“No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit." – Andrew Carnegie

Select the individual, team or organization

Here you will need to find out who can perform the task, and highlight their strengths and weaknesses. The strengths help you know how well the task will be performed, but the weaknesses are just as helpful in defining any additional training needs or additional personnel required to complete the task being delegated.

Who is the person or team to carry out the task?

Why have you chosen that person or team?

Sometimes you may have chosen that particular person because they are the only person free, or they are always willing to do whatever is asked of them, but you need to take care with your selection. The success or failure of the task lies with the person you are going to choose.

The selection of person or team should be based on their ability and skill to complete the given task, not be based on personal favor.

"Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships". - Michael Jordan

Assess ability and training needs

We mentioned the skills level within the person or persons assigned to the task and this step focusses fully on the individual's group's strengths and weaknesses.

Ask yourself some questions that you may not want to know the answer to, but are necessary for the successful completion of the task.

Does the individual or team have all the requisite skills?

What areas are they lacking the skills?

By answering these questions you are bringing into focus your own ability and more importantly, your desire to delegate. The answers show whether you are truly ready to delegate and uncovers your true motivation in delegating the tasks.

Explain the reasons

Transparency is necessary here in order to convey the importance and relevance of the task and how the delegator has the skills and attributes to successfully complete the task. You are passing the responsibility of that specific task or project to the delegator and they in turn understand their own responsibility.

"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit". - Harry S. Truman

State required results

Defining the outcome is paramount. Everyone must know what the goal is and each person needs to have bought into the task and accepted the outcome. You need to ask yourself what must be achieved? Once you have a clear answer, then it is easier to convey the outcome to all relevant parties. Ask for clarification from the person or team performing the task to ensure buy-in and understanding of outcome and their responsibilities within the task at hand.

A dark-haired man is standing with his back to the camera looking at a board with a pie chart showing social media marketing results, maybe.
Person looking at a board

Consider resources required

Ask yourself what is needed in order to complete the task and put all resources required at the disposal of whomever is carrying out the task. There are certain things to take into consideration: people, location, premises, equipment, money, materials, other related activities and services.

Agree deadlines

Part of the parameters for the task has to be its completion date and when progress updates are required. One thing that will undermine your delegation is constant, unscheduled requests on updates. Once you have decided on the team or individual, you only need to learn from them at regular update meetings, or of they need management assistance to complete a task or utilise resources.

Define the due date, review dates, and priorities within the task. Confirm understanding, and gather their ideas and their interpretation of the task. Iron out any misgivings or misunderstandings at this stage.

Again, just to reiterate, do not micro-manage. You have delegated, so let the task run and use the reviews to assist in the completion, if required. Delegation is about trust and micro-managing dissolves trust.

Support and communicate

Here is where you, as a manger, assist and encourage, solve any outstanding issues and relate the progress to your manager, or management team. Open and honest communication up and down the chain will build trust and show all concerned they have value and are trusted within the organisation. A good manager will accept responsibility if things go wrong, but will pass on the credit of any successes. This should not happen the other way round, although I am sure we all have had managers who take the glory and criticise

Feedback on results

It is essential to let the person you are delegating to know how they are doing and how you expect them to act and react through the delegation process. You need to sit down and review the process, extol the successes and empower the areas where improvement is required. This is not an opportunity to chastise or discourage, this is an opportunity to encourage. The key here is to look to the future and how they can assist you in the future and how you are saving time to focus on areas of business more conducive to your strengths.

As a manager, your time is valuable and you have some very unique skills that have aided you in your professional development, but you do not know everything. There are limitations to your knowledge and your expertise, and this is when your common sense can come into play and you can delegate to others the areas where you are weakest. There are so many quotes about entrepreneurs and delegation that so many cannot be wrong. Delegate.

By following the 9 simple steps outlined above, you can become a better manager and a true delegator, thus freeing up your time for you to carry out your role even more successfully!


If you would like to find out how Accent on Training can help you become a more efficient and effective manager, contact us and we will be happy to talk with about what we can do for you.

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About the author

Jonathan Moore is the founder of Accent on Training, a Social Media Management, Brand and Website design agency based in Seoul, South Korea. For nearly ten years, he has helped clients in developing their businesses online through branding, website design and bespoke social media marketing solutions.

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