Delegation (and believe it will work)

Duy Nguyen

Delegation gives delegator more time & effort to focus on other things, or sometimes just a perfect excuse to grab a beer instead of burying their heads in the sand.

We can't always make things (or everything) on our own. If that somehow truly happens, then Inc, Corp, Enterprise or Group won't stand a chance with Freelancers.

So why delegating? At least, in business, delegation means having extra people to help distribute the stress, provides a gathered source of information, and a couple of extra hands to slap when our thought goes wrong. Delegation also gives delegator more time & effort to focus on other things, or sometimes just a perfect excuse to grab a beer instead of burying their heads in the sand.

That leaves us with some prerequisites. Exactly, it takes more than workload to become a decent delegator.

Address the Possibility

i.e, finding the right people for the job. More than their availability, their skillset and expertise should match the job's requirement. We need to know not just who's available, but who can get the job done for you, who can get it done better, or even suggest you to solve this job altogether. Next, it's to delegate it correctly. If the delegatee has no prior experience, they can benefit from a bit of best practices, sources of additional information, or personal tricks of the trade.

It won't be Perfect

Admit it, nothing can be. Once you've decided to ask for help, understand that it's hard to fully reach the expectation you've envisioned earlier. Of course, it would be groundbreaking if they made it (and believe me, this is rare), but be prepared that things may not turn out good enough. And guess what, that's fine. It's better to be done than to be perfect.

Being a leader sometimes feels like carrying the heaviest burden. Somewhere along the way, most important decisions and actions get delayed because we are too busy considering the risk.

DoD, Feedback and Communication

Communication is a part of delegating. Communicate any and all pitfalls, points of caution, and other negatives that may affect the delegated work. Define an expectation. Set a deadline. Give them the same point of view before starting on the job. Instruct them along the way and remind them to come with questions at any time. Assist and provide feedback until the job is done, flawlessly. Work doesn't run on assumption. State things clear and verify if needed. Rework is a nightmare, and no one wants that.

Be anything but a Control Freak

Micromanaging is not delegating. Having them do the job and still checking up on it 3 times a day doesn't make anyone's life easier.
People are programmed to function differently from one to another, and so is their way to tackle a problem. Empowering with authority, get out of the way and let them surprise you.

Work, not Responsibility

Delegating work does not absolve you of responsibility. It's an attempt to wrap up the job. That comes under the form of tasks & to-dos, where they help clean up the work you struggling with or having bottleneck decision.

In the case of a failure, the blame is all yours. Investors will go after the CEO, even if an intern made the mistake that hurts the company.


Everything must be well-transferred and carefully considered before trusting someone with delegated work. That includes the competency and effort towards the work itself. Delegated work also requires the person's willingness to invest in personal development. It is vital to have those people around if you're planning on building a team to drive for constant movement.

Delegation can sometimes be seen as a training task or a challenge for the assignee to overcome. In this way, the delegator will have more compassion than expectation toward the assignee, and allows both of them to collaborate with each other better.

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