How to Master the Art of Delegation

When you step into your first management position it’s incredibly tempting just to do everything yourself.

There’s a nagging feeling that the success of the entire project rests on your shoulders and that you have the most experienced and trustworthy pair of hands available.

I mean, you probably got this far in by being completely self-sufficient and independent in your last few jobs – that’s one of the reasons you got the management gig right? Just put the same kind of effort into this role and it should all be fine.

But – as a manager it is no longer your job to hit the target – it’s your job to ensure the target gets hit!

Subtle difference in words – massive difference in results. (take a look here for a short explanation of that fact)

I explained in an earlier article the four pieces of the sales management jigsaw that come together to create what I like to call the FAME Effect;

Focus – Accountability – Motivation – Education

Delegation hovers somewhere in between FOCUS which makes us ask;

WHAT – as in “What jobs really need doing?”


ACCOUNTABILITY which makes us ask;

WHO – as in “Whose job is it?”

So – before you turn yourself into a human version of Buckaroo – here are 5 tips to help you delegate a bit more effectively.

Create a Little Table

I’m so tempted to call this a Management Delegation Matrix so that you take it more seriously – but it’s really not that clever and it’s certainly not very difficult to put together.

Just take a blank sheet of paper (or Excel sheet), write all the jobs you need to delegate at the top and then, underneath that, place all you team’s names on the left hand side.

Share out the jobs appropriately (based on time, load, skills required etc.) and while you’re doing so, make a note of who might need some extra training, coaching or extra development to achieve the results you require.

This also enables you to communicate effectively how fair you’re being with everyone involved.

If you think you might be dishing out the jobs unfairly take a read of my last article – Do You Allow People to Overload You With Work? – and understand what that might be doing to certain members of the team.

Explain Why and When

Throw a job at some people and they’ll make the assumption it needs doing immediately, drop everything else and give it a 100%.

Do the same with someone who is completely absorbed by their current task and it’ll get pushed to the bottom of list.

Let the team know where the job being delegated fits into the great scheme of things – and where it fits with regards to the hierarchy of the other plates they’ve got spinning right now.

It Should Look Like This

Would you ever decide to paint the inside of your house and just give a paint colour chart to the decorator and said, “You choose – just go for whatever you think will look nice”?

You’ll always have some kind of vision (however faint) of the how you want the job being delegated to turn out – so share that vision with your team and stop expecting everyone to read your mind.

Your Job – Your Authority

Let the other internal departments (who you need to be on board to get the job done) know what you’ve asked your team to achieve before they go knocking on doors.

Don’t just “cc” other parties into your emails (they’re already busy doing their own job and won’t read them) – drop a personalised email (or go and clear the path for them personally – in person) along the lines of “My team are doing this, I’d be grateful if you could help them”.

Then pass on your authority and tell your team that you’ve cleared the jungle path for them and that they should make camp at the agreed destination by night fall.

Let Them Get On With It

You’ve given me the job – now leave me alone.

Let me know you’re there if I need you – sure.

Give me the right training first – absolutely.

But trust me to do it right or don’t pass it on.

You have to decide which end of the spectrum you’re aiming for here with regards to team motivation and morale – at one end you have micromanagement (oh, how I love you looking over my shoulder) and at the other you have complete abandonment (What is this scary place? Where am I?).

Somewhere in the middle you can help your team to deliver the results you need to see, while leaving them with a huge sense of personal achievement.


UK Workshops


(click on preferred city for full details)

Our Sales Management Open Workshops show you how to piece together the four main elements of successfully managing a team – Focus; Accountability; Motivation; Education – and show you how to get the best out of everyone involved.

At the end of this workshop delegates will be able to:

  • Work out how to focus on the real tasks that need to be achieved – and find a way to ensure every member of their team is doing that too.
  • Create a culture where every member of the team understands that they are accountable and responsible for their own success – and recognise exactly what that makes them accountable for.
  • Genuinely motivate people to over deliver -and even more importantly – learn how to make sure you don’t demotivate them.
  • Coach the entire team to greater things – learn how to give them a net of their own rather than continuously feeding them individual fish.
  • Feel competent and confident enough to conduct staff discipline in a professional (and legal) manner.


(click on preferred city name for full details)