Professional Development

The Art of Delegation

Learning to Let Go and Avoid the Dreaded Label of Micro-Manager

One of the most valuable tools a manager has at their disposable is the ability to delegate. Unfortunately, very few managers receive training, guidance and direction on how to delegate. As a result, managers either don’t delegate or tend to earn the label of a micro-manager. When handled effectively, delegation benefits the manager, the employee and the organization.

Reasons Why Managers Don’t Delegate

There are a lot of reasons why managers don’t delegate. Reasons range from: not having time to plan how to delegate; it takes more time to explain what to do than if I just did it myself; to a fear that the staff may outperform them.

Many times a manager simply enjoys the work and it falls well within their comfort zone. However, a manager should ask themselves if the work they are holding onto really belongs with them or the team. While it may be difficult to give up enjoyable tasks, sometimes, it is the right thing to do for both the manager and their staff.

A starting point is for managers to ask:

• How and where should I be spending my time?
• Am I performing tasks that can, and should be, handled by my team?
• What is the skill level and desire of each team member to take on greater responsibility?

Delegation requires forethought and planning. It is a process that takes into consideration several factors including:

1) The task, activity or project
2) The skill, capability, style and desire of the employee
3) The timeline for completion

How to Delegate, maintain control, and avoid micromanaging

Delegation is not simply assigning a task; it includes delegating authority and decision making to the employee. When the employee takes ownership of the task they also assume responsibility and accountability for ensuring the task is completed. For delegation to be successful this must be clearly understood by both parties.

Delegation is a skill that requires patience, analysis, understanding, practice and reflection. Start by evaluating your staff and determining which team members are highly capable, ready for greater responsibility, can function independently, and those who can’t or won’t step up even with coaching and guidance. This information is the foundation for creating a delegation strategy and development plan for each team member. Delegation is just one of the core management skills included in the Essential Management Skills course, listed below with the spring/summer Professional Development schedule:

Date Location Course
May 3-4 Conestoga Think on Your Feet®
May 10-11 Calgary Think on Your Feet®
May 12 Calgary Building Better Relationships
May 17-19 Toronto Essential Management Skills
June 7-9 Edmonton Essential Management Skills

Click here to find out more about the courses and find the full 2016 schedule.

Interested in a professional development skills in-house course that’s tailored for your own organization? Contact Karen Bergin at for more information.