How to Delegate for Results

Delegation is essential for faster growth and to make the most of your time. Often, delegation has been made unnecessarily complicated than it should be.

People don’t like to delegate stuff, because they believe “if it should be done right, I need to do it”. This is often a result of poor delegation skills combined with the wrong person assigned to the task.

Here are the steps you should follow to delegate effectively.

1. Eliminate:

Before you delegate, see if your task needs to be done at all. If the end result you’re after is not going to change anything, or if it’s going to improve a vanity metric, just ignore the task. Delegating a worthless task to someone else doesn’t make it more worthy.

2. Pick the Person:

Have a baseline criteria on how you select people for tasks. When there are multiple candidates, often you’ll be better off picking the person who does satisfactory work faster, rather than who does perfect work unreliably.

3. Define Clearly:

Clearly define the task on how it should be done. Understand that you already have a lot of background information about the task in your head, which the other person doesn’t have access to. So you have to put the task, in writing, because if you just say it, people can forget. Also having written instructions is good for the other person to refer if they get lost.

Here are some points you should cover.

  1. What’s the end outcome you’re after.
  2. What steps (if any) that MUST be followed.
  3. What should NOT be done.
  4. When you expect a response and how
  5. When you expect the task (or milestones) to be completed
  6. How the task and milestones to be delivered.
  7. What to do when there are questions about the task.
  8. How and when you expect to be kept updated.
  9. Give diagrams, designs, and other visual elements to ensure the task is properly understood by both parties.

4. Give Authority:

If you need something to be done, you need to give that person authority and access to all the required information. Don’t let them come back to you seeking parts of information, because that will just delay the process.

The level of authority can be:

Level 1: Inform – Just get the information and do the work

Level 2: Initiate – Progress and do the task within the given boundaries.

Level 3: Act – Do the task by any means and any costs. At this level, the person will have the full authority to get the task done, at any means, and at any cost – which means they’ll pay expenses out of pocket and will expect you to reimburse later.

5. Supervise at Checkpoints:

After a task is delegated, you must supervise it at set intervals.

In the beginning, you must supervise at regular intervals to ensure the task is on the right track after you’ve verified it, you can lengthen the checkpoint intervals.

Follow a Fibonacci Sequence to make this process easier. 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8….


Follow up on Days 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21

However, if you see a task going off the rails at some point, then you have to stop and start the sequence from that point again.

6. Debrief:

After a task is done, hold a debrief session to see what worked and what didn’t. Get the learnings, and improve the system again, to prevent any issues which may have happened.